Homeless Families

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Effectiveness of family support for children in homeless families

The whole issue of parents and children in need is a vast, complex and ethically challenging one. This review is specifically charged with an examination of those issues which impinge upon the stresses and strains that are experienced by parents of children in need.

A superficial examination of these issues that are involved in this particular area would suggest that there are a number of “sub-texts “which can all give rise to this particular situation. Firstly, to have child in need is clearly a stressful situation for any parent.(Meltzer H et al. 1999)

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This can clearly be purely a financial concern and a reflection of the fact that the whole family is in financial hardship, perhaps due to the economic situation or perhaps due to the actions of the parents themselves. Equally the need of the child can be a result of anon-financial need, so we should also consider the child who is in some way handicapped, ill, emotionally disturbed or perhaps in need in some other way. This produces another type of stress on the parent, and these stresses are typically longer lasting and, in general, less easily rectified than a purely financial consideration of need. (Hall D1996).

It is part of the basic ethos of the welfare state that it should look after its less able and disadvantaged members. (Welsh Office 1997).Parents of children in need will often qualify in this definition. We shall therefore examine the various aspects of this problem.

Literature Review

Effectiveness of family support for children in homeless families

We will make a start by considering one type of child in need. The first paper that we will consider is that of Prof. Vostanis (Vostanis2002), which looks at the mental health problems that are faced by deprived children and their families together with the effectiveness of the resources that are available to them.

It is a well written and well researched paper, if rather complex and confusing in places. We will consider this paper in some detail as it provides an excellent overview of the whole area.

The paper starts with a rather useful definition for our purposes. It qualifies the deprived child, initially in terms of a homeless family, that being :

A family of any number of adults with dependent children who are statutorily accepted by local authorities (housing departments) in teak, and are usually accommodated for a brief period in voluntary agency, local authority or housing association hostels.

This period of temporary accommodation can vary enormously depending on the time of year and the area considered, and can range from a few days to perhaps several months. The target in Greater London is currently storehouse homeless families within 4-6 weeks.

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