It is true that children who are homeless receive inadequate attention, the well-being of homeless children is overlooked because their physical health, mental health, and social- emotional functioning are diminishing. The development of humans within the early years is critical for the way a person is maintained throughout life. Many factors contribute the personal development such as social, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physical factors. Development is how a child grows physically and emotionally and learns to communicate, think, and socialize. Many children are not given the ability to receive the help they need to prosper many years forward.
Children are not able to determine the way they are raised, nor how their upbringing may be. Family homelessness is becoming a more common issue today. Homelessness is considered to be the state of living in temporary housing, in a shelter, a home without electricity, or in a place not meant for human habilitation (Park, 2011). More than 1.6 million U.S. children are homeless each year and approximately 40% of children are living in shelters under the age of 7 (Haskett, 2016). With so many children living in poverty, there have been issues about the development of homeless children, because they not only have worries of being a child, but worries of where they will sleep at night, where they will receive food, and even if they will be allowed to stay with their family. This could bring many leading situations that can be detrimental to the entire family.
Many times, things happen that are not supposed to. Some are given as a blessing and others are things to build you into the person you are today. When parents who are already homeless birth a baby, it brings a bundle of joy and a bundle of task and abilities that will need to be completed. It is known that a mother is considered homeless if she does not have permanent housing 12 months before delivery (Doskoch, 2011).Before the child is born they are already less likely to have good health due to insufficient funds and insurance. Mothers who are homeless and pregnant normally do not receive early prenatal care. They are not able to take vitamins and it contributes them to being underweight while being pregnant. Doctor visits are hard to get to if parents lack transportation and hard to pay for, because of the many visits that are needed while pregnant. There are many factors that can attribute to the problems mothers face while carrying their child. They could face obstacles such as chemical abuse, chronic health problems, and lack of personal care. Many women who are homeless are single women who have to make the best of their situations. Despite these developmental delays and emotional difficulties, homeless preschoolers receive fewer services than other children their age (Doskoch, 2011).
Infants who are born into homelessness are not given proper care. Due to this problem they are born with low birth weight that can lead to various problems, especially problems that could be life threatening. Compared to those who are not homeless mothers, they are able to be with their child soon after birth and also have the ability to breast feed the child, rather than the child going to the intensive unit due to lack of health. Infants are not given the opportunity to attend well-baby checkups after being born (Brinamen, 2012). From infancy to the age of about six years old, children who suffer from being under weight endure many health problems that affects their daily activities. With certain limitations, their childhood is altered because they are not able to attend day care or child care and do the things other children are able to do.
As the child ages in the years of 7-18, there are many things they become more aware of that cause them to accumulate more problems. Approximately one student in every classroom has experienced living life homeless or are currently homeless. Many homeless children are separated from their immediate family and they are placed in foster care. Without having their parents, the children are more likely to become sick, go hungry, and have physical, social, and academic challenges. The younger children are more affected by this happening due to the lack of care they are able to have for their self. When the young children are separated from their parents, long-term negative effects are brought up which alters the family’s relationship. Another major issue they will endure is the focus they have toward their education. Adverse experiences in early childhood can threaten brain development, learning, and long health. The family may split and go different ways or endure hardships. When they family is separated, it disrupts the structure of the family causing the child to undermine academic achievement (Manstin, 2014). It is known that children who are homeless are at risk of behavior problems. Therefore, they may find more ways to get the attention of the professor.
Homeless children suffer from physical health problems that may include asthma, immunization delays, developmental growth problems, and nutritional deficits. It is common for children who experience homelessness to have a higher rate of physical health problems (Park,2016). A study was conducted to figure out the correlation between children who are homeless and their physical and mental health. In order to study their physical health, the mother’s rating of the child’s overall health status as fair or poor, any physical disability reported, and whether the child had been diagnosed with asthma (Park, 2016) were tested. There were high levels of physical health problems from asthma, health, and physical disabilities.
Every two in five children who have experienced a homeless episode that has caused suffering from a clinically diagnosable mental health disorder (Marcal, 2017). This comparison is twice the rate of children who are not homeless. Treatment for mental health problems have high rates that make it challenging for homeless families to receive proper treatment to maintain their mental health. The cause of mental health problems may come from long periods of uncertainty, traumatic experience, adverse health effects, the lack the capacity to sustain employment, and having little income. With being homeless, there is a great bit of inconsistency through their lives. Job searching can be difficult when a person does not have transportation or work experience. Therefore, there is no source of income available for the family if they are not able to apply and receive a job (Marcal, 2017).
Also, when people become homeless, they tend to lose family members and friends due to situations that have occurred prior to becoming homeless. It becomes hard to depend on others to due to others not understanding their situation or lack of support. The lack of support they have brings troubles because they have the feeling of being alone. Some who are homeless are not comfortable with expressing their need for help. When there is nowhere else they can turn with lack of resources, it can be difficult to determine good judgment. Having a supportive atmosphere is important to the success of someone going through a phase of homelessness. Services provided by the government, shelters, and churches are safe places for them. The environment creates a non-threatening atmosphere. These resources ease the emotional pain they endure because they have someone they can depend and support them.
The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) stated 16% of students experiencing homelessness received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). (Sullivan-Walker,2017).
Student who are homeless already endure certain things due to situations that are out of their hand. Adding disabilities on top of their hardships, add to the hardships they endure such as school failure, lack of transportation, and poor attendance because they constantly change their location. On an educational level, students perform in math and reading are lower than those in stable homes. Students also struggle with completing records, missing paperwork, and behavioral issues. Children who are homeless score lower on standardized testing. It is common for children who are homeless to acquire a disability. The result of this causes low levels of achievement in school regarding math and reading especially. Many students struggle to maintain skills necessary for objectives in the classroom which causes a common a struggle for children experiencing homeless lives to repeat a grade while in school. For children to achieve success and well- being, their physical space and the education provided is vital toward their success. When dealing with children who have a disability, teamwork is crucial.
There are many changes children endure that are homeless. With the many changes they have, their brain development is altered. Different regions of the brain are affected such as the prefrontal cortex. The cortex is responsible for executing functioning of the brain.
Edidin (2012) study found the following:
Research has identified that the prefrontal cortex undergoes a protracted period of development, which continues from early childhood well into the mid-twenties. In addition to overall increases in prefrontal cortical volume, improved coordination between the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system, structures that control memory, emotion regulation, and motivation, also occurs. Because of the numerous changes in the structure and function of the brain that occur during adolescence and young adulthood, there is greater potential for the environment to affect development.
The alteration in the brain will cause the children to make poor decision making, emotional change, and instability in life. It is typical for parents to seek help for children who have these problems. The difference for homeless parents sometimes is that they are not always available to seek treatment for their children. In certain situations, they may not even recognize the problems (Eddin, 2012). It is common for parent, teachers, or other adults around the children to bring the situations to the parent’s attention for them to address. Other cognitive difficulties that occur may involve scoring low on verbal test and having deficits in attention. These things all are factors in cognitive development.
Preparing for a family will not promise a healthy upbringing but it would defiantly benefit a child in some type of positive way. Preparing to have children shows that there is some type of cognitive organization between the two parents. Having organization and understanding between parents before a child is born gives the child an advantage before they are given a life. Being organized for sooner of a child provides the child with a solid foundation. Most children or people in general that become homeless do not start off with a solid foundation as a child. Being prepared for a family would include preparation to become financially stable. The mental and emotional state of a parent which in most cases will be a direct transition to the child. The child is one to be a child and want be barred down with trouble of an unprepared pair of parents. In addition it also takes proper financial preparation to ensure some type of stability with a child that will decrease chances or them eventually growing up and becoming homeless.
Parental closeness is an important factor when it comes to raising a child. It is important to create a positive relationship with your child at an early age for them to remember you by as they develop. Establishing and maintaining a positive relationship is a necessity. The more comfortable the child is with you, the more they can trust and depend on you as the parent. This will allow the child to feel like they can come to the parent as an outlet when he has questioned or when something goes wrong. Parents will likely have less time at home with their children getting their selves involved in other things. It is important to stress the close relationship ties between the parents and the children. Any child should be able to go to their parents for any reason. Having a close relationship with your child can prevent homelessness because if anyone else fails the child will be available for them to call. Close relationships with children decrease depth, decreases uncertainty within trouble times and increase the chance the child becomes successful.
Being involved in a child’s academic standing while they are in school is completely necessary in today’s world. The importance of knowing how your child Is doing in school all substantially help the child in every area of life. They will know and understand that you as a parental figure actuality cares for them. It lets them know the importance of education. It allows you as parent to guide your child in the right direction academically. You can now reward your child for academic greatness which will give them more incentive to perform better in school. In other children this will allow you to seek certain resources if your child is needing. Providing them with help will prevent poor academic performance. Education is the basis of success when it comes to receiving and maintaining a job. Having a job will drastically decrease the chances of the child becoming homeless. Earning a degree will almost guarantee some type of job.
It can be hard for service providers to comprise services for homeless families that engage families, employment, and social conditions. A trial was completed called the Family critical time intervention (FCTI). It combines housing and structured, time limited case management to connect families leaving shelter with community services. The program uses homeless shelters that include a team consisting of a case manager, supervisory staff, and psychiatrist. There are three phases to the intervention. The first stage is transition to community. In this phase, a case manager completes a thorough family assessment that includes caregiver and child strengths. This phase works closely with the mother three times a week introducing her to several resources available for her benefit. The second phase is called try-out. It allows a little less contact from the case manager to allow the family to become more independent. The mother is monitored whether she will need assistance depending on the situation. The third phase is transfer to care. It allows the family to take full responsibility for their actions. At this phase the case manager is used for support and follow up (Shinn, 2015).
There are many services that are provided by the government, churches, and shelters. Homelessness can be minimzed by those who are willing to make change in their life. There are homeless shelters for families who provide food, shelter, case management, and various services. Those who go through homelessness are faced by difficulties of cognitive, emotional, social, academic, and physical changes. Over time, there can be things that can be done to prevent families from being homeless for a long period of time. Services such as WIC, food stamps, and government assistant programs are available to many low-income persons. Receiving these services will allow better development for homeless children. Schools that provide tutoring, after school programs, and food assistance for homeless children should be more willing to reach out to the children in the schools who need the extra help. Programs that provide these things will be beneficial to homeless children because they do not have certain resources at home to help them. It will be beneficial for them to receive the help at school where they are away from distractions they many have while they are at home or other places they sleep at night.
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