National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Child Separation Among Families Experiencing Homelessness

Walton, D.,
Wood, M.,
Dunton, L.
Published: March, 2018
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
Homeless Families Research Brief

This brief from the ACF Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) uses data from the Family Options Study to explore how often children in homeless families were separated from their parents before, during, and after staying in emergency shelters. This analysis includes both voluntary and involuntary child separations among the 5,397 children in 2,282 families who either stayed with their families in emergency shelter or were separated from their families upon entry. The brief also describes the subsequent separation and reunification experiences of children in the 1,857 families who responded to the 20-month survey and the 1,784 families who responded to the 37-month survey. The findings show children separated from their families were older on average and most stayed with the other parent or relatives during separation.


Available free of charge on the OPRE website at:
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