Family Interventions for Youth Experiencing or at Risk of Homelessness
This report summarizes existing evidence on family intervention strategies for youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The authors conducted a systematic literature review of research since 2000 that focuses on family intervention strategies for youth ages 12 to 24 within the runaway and homeless youth, child welfare, juvenile justice, and education sectors. They also conducted key informant interviews with advocates, technical assistance providers, and service providers. Each of the 49 identified interventions was rated based on the rigor of its design and classified as evidence-based, evidence-informed, promising, emerging, or of interest. Interventions were also grouped into three categories--prevention, reunification, or reconnection--and assessed for positive effects and statistical significance. Six interventions were classified as evidence-based (Ecologically Based Family Therapy and Functional Family Therapy) or evidence-informed (Multidimensional Family Therapy, Multisystemic Therapy, Treatment Foster Care Oregon, and Support to Reunite, Involve, and Value Each Other). Results indicate that research has uncovered a few effective family intervention strategies that provide insight into what makes these strategies successful, but more research is needed to evaluate those targeted specifically to youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness. More research is also needed on how to target family interventions to key subgroups such as youth who are racial and ethnic minorities and/or LGBTQ.