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The Visible Child Initiative Investing in the healthy development and academic success of children who have know homelessness Presented by Sharon Henry-Blythe.

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Presentation on theme: "The Visible Child Initiative Investing in the healthy development and academic success of children who have know homelessness Presented by Sharon Henry-Blythe."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Visible Child Initiative Investing in the healthy development and academic success of children who have know homelessness Presented by Sharon Henry-Blythe Family Housing Fund Visible Child Initiative March, 2014

2 Homelessness in Minnesota

3 Homeless in Minnesota One-night statewide homelessness count in October 2012: Overall, 10,214 homeless adults, youth, and children were counted, up 6 percent over The 6% increase between 2009 and 2012 follows a jump of 25% between 2006 and There was a slight increase (4%) in the total number of families experiencing homelessness, but a 22% increase in the number of two-parent homeless families. Wilder Research 2012 Minnesota Homeless Study

4 Homeless in Minnesota In greater Minnesota, the number of people found outside the shelter system increased while the number in the Twin Cities area was down. Greater Minnesota also saw an increase in homeless families not using shelter. Increases in the metro area occurred almost exclusively in emergency shelters, including a 44 percent increase in the number of children in emergency shelters. --Wilder Research 2012 Minnesota Homeless Study

5 Homeless in Minnesota Nearly three-quarters (72%) of children are in the care of their mother or a single female caregiver. Four percent are in the care of a father or male caregiver. One-quarter (24%) are in the care of two parents or caregivers. Wilder Research 2012 Minnesota Homeless Study Racial disparities are severe. African American and American Indian families are ten times as likely to be homeless as their white neighbors in Minnesota Minnesota homeless study Homeless children and their families Wilder Research

6 Homelessness Children in Minnesota Wilder Study documented 3,546 homeless children with parents—a 9% increase from % of Minnesota homeless children are age 5 and younger. (36%) are between 6 and 12 years old and 13% are between 13 and 17 years old. --Wilder Research 2012 Minnesota Homeless Study

7 Homelessness Children in Minnesota 26% of parents whose children were with them said at least one of their children had an emotional or behavior problem (up from 21% in 2009). 15% had at least one child with a chronic or severe physical health problem. 11% said their children skipped meals in the previous month – not enough money to buy food. --Wilder Research 2012 Minnesota Homeless Study

8 Homelessness, Trauma, and Parenting The trauma of homelessness and severe poverty can dramatically compromise a child’s opportunity for healthy development. Childhood homelessness appears to be a common precursor to adult homelessness, and families appear to be repeating the cycle of homelessness from one generation to the next.

9 Homelessness, Trauma, and Parenting Trauma, grief, and loss permeate the lives of homeless adults and often begins in childhood. Physical abuse as a child Sexual abuse as a child Neglect Domestic Violence Sexual assault or rape as an adult Chemical Dependency Mental Illness

10 Impact of Homelessness on Children Toddlers living in homeless families begin to demonstrate significant developmental delays after 18 months of age At risk for poor social, emotional and cognitive developmental outcomes Risk increases as children progress from early childhood to school age

11 Breaking the Cycle of Generational Homelessness

12 Visible Child Initiative Key Strategy Embed Evidence-Based, Research-Informed, Culturally- Appropriate Practices Into “Systems” that Reach Homeless Families With Young Children. Increase frontline staff understanding of children’s mental health. Promote front-line staff use of culturally-sensitive family- centered practices. Reduce the negative impacts of parental chemical dependency on the lives of children who currently live in supportive housing.

13 Visible Child Initiative Key Strategy Embed Evidence-Based, Research-Informed, Culturally- Appropriate Practices Increase homeless and formerly homeless children’s access to age appropriate, culturally-sensitive children’s mental health services. Build parent confidence in their ability to support their children's social and emotional development Increase the availability of quality, trauma informed child care and early childhood services available to homeless and formerly homeless children.

14 Visible Child Initiative Key Strategy 90 Day Window for Children Culture Matters Trauma Informed Child Care and Early Childhood Services: Caring for Young Children Who Have Experienced Significant Trauma

15 Visible Child Initiative Key Strategy Trauma Informed Child Care and Early Childhood Services: Caring for Young Children Who Have Experienced Significant Trauma Understand the effects of homelessness and associated trauma on young children’s social emotional development, the impact of trauma on parenting practices and how quality care can mediate the effects of trauma on young children.

16 Trauma Informed Child Care TRAINING GOALS Culture, Trauma and Parenting Practices. Help Parents Understand the Impact of Trauma on Parenting Practices and Child Wellbeing. Identify Characteristics of Quality Child Care for Children Who Have Experienced Homelessness and Associated Trauma.

17 Trauma Informed Child Care Promote Protective Factors for young children. Babies develop within the context of relationship and culture. A young child’s healthy development is directly tied to the capacity of the primary caregiver “Good Enough Parenting”  Sensitive, responsive parent  Reliable, predictable care

18 Trauma Informed Child Care Can (trauma informed) quality child care mediate the impact of homelessness on children’s well-being and serve as another protective factor for children who have experienced homelessness?

19 Kindergarten Readiness “A poll of kindergarten teachers found that they rate knowledge of letters and numbers as less important readiness skills than being physically healthy, able to communicate verbally, curious and enthusiastic, and able to take turns and share.” The Future of Children-Princeton Brookings: School Readiness: Closing Racial and Ethnic Gaps The Future of Children 2005

20 The Visible Child Initiative Smaller By Laura Purdie Salas Life shrinks without a home to live in. It shrivels until it fits into a torn grocery sack or holey old suitcase, until it is itty bitty enough for you to throw your socks, your comb, and your dreams into that sack flat out fast when Mama snaps, “We got to move. Now!” My life has melted so small – soon I expect to disappear completely.

21 For More Information Sharon Henry-Blythe Family Housing Fund Director, Visible Child Initiative , ext. 19


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