203874 Promising Practices for Children and Youth who are Homeless or At-Risk of Homelessness:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cheryl Zlotnick, RN DrPH , Center for the Vulnerable Child, Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland, Oakland, CA
Tammy Tam, PhD , Center for the Vulnerable Child, Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland, Oakland, CA
Suzanne Zerger, PhD , Center for Social Innovation, Newton, MA
Background: Children living in the cycle of homelessness, including children who are literally homeless or children living in foster care, suffer disproportionately from higher rates of physical and psychosocial difficulties compared to other children. After years of studies, are there effective interventions that benefit children who have lived in both foster care and homeless situations? This study examines existing literature to identify the most promising practices for children living in transition (i.e., homeless and foster care living situations). Methods: Using a standard search strategy, three major electronic databases for medical (Pubmed), psychological (PsychINFO), and nursing and allied health service literature (CINAHL) were consulted. The resulting “samples” of journal articles included: Pubmed (n=2,732), PsychINFO (n=3,636) and CINAHL (n=1,214). Only a sparse 2.0% of these articles focused on homeless children and services. Literature on foster care populations fared better: Pubmed (n=1,594), PsychINFO (n=648) and CINAHL (n=754). Of these articles, 12.3% focused on foster care children and services. Results: Preliminary results suggest that only 11.9% of articles on homeless children, and only 14.9% of articles on foster children examined specific interventions. Training and education on the needs of the population appears to be a common denominator for many best practices. Conclusions: This study reviews and synthesizes existing literature to highlight best practice interventions and identify the overlap in services for children living in transition – including in foster care and literal homelessness. As such, it provides a valuable service to administrators, policymakers and providers, and starting place for the development of more effective interventions.

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives: 1. Identify characteristics of children living in the cycle of homelessness. 2. List attributes of the most promising practices for children living in the cycle of homelessness. 3. Discuss ways that promising practices can be implemented in more sites serving this population.

Keywords: Evidence Based Practice, Children and Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 20 years of experience including as a clinician, evaluator, researcher and administrator
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.