Children and Youths – Research

Young, hidden and homeless

Crisis, London, April 2012

Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people in UK, has released the report Young, hidden and homeless which explores the experiences and circumstances of young single homeless people aged 18-25 years at a time when both the rate of homelessness and youth unemployment are reportedly rising in England.

The findings in this report reveal that the biggest cause of homelessness for young people in the England is being told by parents to leave the family home.  Other common causes include leaving care arrangements or being evicted from rental properties.

The report also highlights young people’s “interactions with the care and school systems as children, as well as the support services they later come into contact with and what support they are offered. From these findings it considers what more needs to be done to tackle and prevent youth homelessness.”— Extract from the report

Housing for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care: A Review of the Literature and Program Typology

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development & Research, Washington, DC: March 2012

This report summarises what is known “about the housing needs and outcomes common to young people who age out of foster care.” The current landscape of programs and resources available to assist such young adults with housing in the United States is explored.

The report includes a literature review on the characteristics of these young people, their risk of homelessness, and the barriers they face in securing stable housing, along with relevant federal, and to a lesser extent, state policies.

The report also describes and analyses a wide range of housing programs for young people aging out of foster care, and identifies some innovative housing programs that require further study.

Achieving (Extra)ordinary Aspirations

This research was undertaken in 2010-2011 by Victoria University and Melbourne Citymission. It documents the outcomes for 29 young people who had used the Melbourne Citymission Step Ahead service and reports on their views about different aspects of the model, how they experienced it, and what made a difference in their lives.

The Melbourne Citymission Step Ahead program was the first foyer-like model for young people in Victoria and became operational in 2004. It incorporates up to three years of supported housing with education and casework for young people aged 16-25 years who are at risk of homelessness or dislocated from mainstream supports. The program aims to help young people negotiate a transition from ‘dependence to independence’ (Melbourne Citymission 2010), and to find a satisfying job or improve employability in order to secure a better quality of life. There is an expectation that young people make a commitment to engage in developmental activities, including personal, recreational and vocational activities.

The foyer model of accommodation and support for young people is designed for homeless young people who wish to pursue education, employment and training as an important priority in their lives.

This study contributes to understanding how this kind of intervention works to support and assist young people. The research draws on existing outcome data within Melbourne Citymission, and original qualitative data. (Extract from the report)

No Safe Place to Go – LGBTQ Youth Homelessness in Canada: Reviewing the Literature

Ilona Alex Abramovich,in Canadian Journal of Family and Youth, Vol. 4, no. 1, 2012

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth are overrepresented in the homeless youth population of North America. This review brings together the literature on the topic of LGBTQ youth homelessness and provides a comprehensive overview of the unique needs of this population, as well as gaps and barriers to support.

This review should be particularly useful for youth shelter and service providers, and policy makers to respond to the needs of this population and to enhance knowledge in this area more broadly.

Young and Homeless: A survey of services and local authorities (England)

Homeless Link launched a survey of homelessness agencies and local authority housing options teams in November 2011 to investigate the extent of and nature of youth homelessness in England. The findings were published in the report, Young & Homeless, based on input from 79 homelessness charities and 108 local authorities.

Seen and heard: putting children on the homelessness agenda

This Mission Australia Snapshot 2011 focuses on the specific needs of homeless children, identifying the number and profile of these young Australians, the reasons why they become homeless, the impact of homelessness on children, service providers’ current practices and families’ experience of the homeless service system.

It draws on key findings from national and international research and an exploratory study conducted by a family homeless network comprising a small number of organisations which began working together as part of an Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young People (ARACY) collaboration.

The Snapshot says that in the last few years there has been a growing awareness that children who are homeless have specific needs which should be addressed.

Shelter: development of a Children’s Headline Indicator

This December 2010 report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, describes the process of developing a Children’s Headline Indicator to measure the multidimensional aspects of shelter. It presents research evidence on the associations between shelter and children’s wellbeing; assesses potential indicators and data sources; and recommends an indicator based on households experiencing housing disadvantage.

Housing and children’s development and wellbeing

This July 2010 report from AHURI reviewed existing literature on the connections between housing and childhood development and wellbeing and it investigates the value and feasibility of conducting empirical research in the Australian context.

Improving housing outcomes for young people leaving state out of home care

This positioning paper has been authored by Guy Johnson, Kristin Natalier, Naomi Bailey, Nola Kunnen, Mark Liddiard, Philip Mendes, Andrew Hollows for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.

This project will explore the effectiveness of current transitional support models in facilitating positive housing outcomes for young people leaving care. In Australia approximately 1,500 people leave state care every year, and are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community. The project will examine the housing experiences, needs and outcomes of state care leavers, and develop a best practice framework through consultation with key policy and service provider stakeholders.

Pathways from out-of-home care: AHURI Final report

This report was developed by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.

Project Leader: Johnson, Guy; Funding Year: 2008  

The report focuses on the housing experiences and outcomes of young people leaving state care. It is the first Australian study to specifically examine the connection between accommodation and young people’s transition to independent living. The primary research question was: Which support model(s) most effectively facilitate positive housing outcomes for young people leaving care?

Ending youth homelessness [in the UK]: Possibilities, challenges and practical solutions

As part of the Centrepoint’s ongoing drive to end youth homelessness in the UK, Centrepoint commissioned the University of York and Herriot-Watt University to look at the scale of the challenge of youth homelessness in the UK, as well as the practical steps that can be taken to meet it.

The research found that in 2008-09 – the most recent year for which figures are available – at least 78-80,000 young people experienced homelessness in the UK. This represents an increase of between four per cent and seven per cent compared to the last time such figures were collected, in 2006-07.

The report also details five broad objectives for local authorities and the government in ending youth homelessness.

Housing Pathways of Young People Who Have Left Out-of-Home State Care

As a group, young people leaving care experience multiple forms of disadvantage, including high rates of homelessness and insecure housing. Researchers have described the associated housing and life trajectories in terms of pathways but few have explicitly referenced the metaphor to the interrelationship of structure and agency that is core to Clapham’s housing pathways approach.

In this paper the researarchers draw on semi-structured interviews with 77 young people who have left state care in the last five years. The researarchers identify two distinct pathways young people travel when they leave care: a smooth and a volatile pathway.

“Are we there yet?” : An exploration of the key principles for working with children accessing transitional supported accommodation services

This 2007 report describes the methodology, literature review, field work findings, conclusions and recommendations of research that explores key principles for working with children who are attending transitional supported accommodation. These key principles seek to fill a gap in the existing body of knowledge on the requirements and needs of homeless children as voiced by children. They are a basic framework for accommodation service workers to use in an environment of limited resources, and increasing numbers of children accessing their services, from which to build the psychosocial, biosocial and physical development of children and break the cycle of long-term and generational homelessness, poverty, and social isolation.

 Youth justice in Australia 2011-12: an overview. (AIHW), Australia

The overview provides a breakdown on the number of young people who were supervised in the community and those in detention in 2011-12, it also provides Indigenous rates.

The Geelong project: A community of schools and youth services model for early intervention. 2013 (Australia)

The Geelong Project brought together by the Swinburne University is an early intervention initiative which aims to demonstrate that through effective early intervention, vulnerable young people can be supported to stay at home where that is possible, remain in school and stay connected in their community.

This study suggests a strong welfare support capacity in schools is crucial for both early intervention and prevention.

Evidence Review: An analysis of the evidence for parenting interventions in Australia. 2012 (Aust)

The aim of this report is to build knowledge about parenting programs that are effective and show promise of achieving change in Family Support Programs (FSP)-target families by researching the evidence-base about existing parenting programs.

Me, Myself and I: Identity and meaning in the lives of vulnerable young people. 2013 (Aust)

It is widely accepted within the literature that adolescence is a critical period for the development of identity and meaning (Pasupathi & Hoyt, 2009), and that these concepts may become even more pertinent to young people when they are confronted with persistent challenges or periods of uncertainty (M. Crawford & Rossiter, 2006). However, our knowledge of how vulnerable young people perceive and experience ‘identity and meaning’ in their lives remains less clear.

The role of informal community resources in supporting stable housing for young people recovering from mental illness: key issues for housing policy-makers and practitioners. 2013 (AHURI)

This is the Final Report from a project that aimed to enhance understanding of the role of informal community resources in supporting stable housing and social inclusion for young people recovering from mental illness.

Paternal influence crucial to the success of children. 2013 (Australia)

Children with involved fathers have better social skills, more successful relationships, stronger self esteem, more self-control and higher grades than those who do not, according to a new report from the University of Western Australia.

The report, How fathers and father figures can shape child health and wellbeing, has reviewed all the research published in the past decade on the influence of fathers.

Wards of state need more help: report. 2013 (Australia)

Wards of the state need support until they are at least 25 years old to prevent them from ending up on the streets, new Queensland research suggests.

It’s estimated one third of young people in foster care become homeless when they attempt to make the transition into independent living.

Don’t push foster children out in the cold when they turn 18. 2013 (Australia)

When children in foster care turn 18, they are expected to become independent, autonomous adults, and are discharged from care.

The period of transition from care which coincides with early adulthood is a difficult time for most young people, so it’s not surprising that the outcomes are poorer for vulnerable youth such as young people leaving care.

Rather than withdraw the supports and structures that have provided stability and support, young people in care should have the option to remain in care until the age of 21, or be better supported to transition to independence, just like their peers.