Homeless Children: Update on Research, Policy, Programs, and Opportunities. Subgroups of homeless children

05/15/2010

Huntington, Buckner, and Bassuk (2008) found that homeless children in Worcester, Massachusetts, could be classified into two distinctly different subgroups based on measures of behavior problems, adaptive functioning, and academic achievement, using cluster analysis. Almost half of the sample was doing well across each of these domains, despite the stressors they faced, while slightly over half of the group was doing more poorly across each of these three realms. These findings were similar for both preschool-age (2–5 years) and school-age children (6–17). This study suggests that homeless children are not a homogenous group and that interventions should be targeted toward those experiencing the most problems.

Table 2:
Summary of Published Homelessness Studies 1987-2005 by Domain (continued)
Part D: Education-related Problems

Publication Location Sample Age (years) Outcomes3 Findings Comments
Bassuk & Rubin (1987) MA 156 homeless children 0-18 Attendance, etc. Homeless Children > General Population  
Rescorla et al. (1991) Philadelphia 83 homeless children

45 housed / clinic children

3-12 WRAT-Reading Homeless Children > Housed Low Income Children > General Population Homeless children scored lower in reading achievement than housed peers
Masten et al. (1993) Minneapolis 159 homeless children

62 housed children

8-17 Changes in school Homeless Children > Housed Low Income Children  
Masten et al. (1997) Minneapolis 73 homeless children 6-11 WIAT-S, etc. Homeless Children > General Population Compared to children for whom the test was normed, homeless children scored lower in achievement
Ziesemer et al. (1994) Madison, WI 145 homeless children

142 housed children

School-age CBCL-Teacher Homeless Children = Housed Low Income Children > General Population Ratings of academic performance using teacher version of CBCL
Zima et al. (1994; 1997) Los Angeles 169 homeless children 6-12 Attendance, reading delays, unmet need for special ed., etc. Homeless Children > General Population Homeless children have elevated rates of academic problems, unmet need for special ed., etc.
Rubin et al. (1996) New York City 102 homeless children

178 housed children

6-11 WRAT-R Homeless Children > Housed Low Income Children > General Population Multivariate analyses. No differences between homeless and housed on IQ measure
Buckner et al. (2001) Worcester, MA 80 homeless children

148 housed children

6-17 Attendance, WIAT-S, KBIT-Non-verbal Homeless Children = Housed Low Income Children = General Population Multivariate analyses. No differences between homeless and housed on any measure, including IQ
Rafferty et al. (2004) New York City 46 formerly homeless children

87 permanently housed children

11-17 Changes in school, WISC-R Similarities,Reading achievement Homeless Children > Housed Low Income Children No differences on IQ measure
3.     CBCL = Child Behavior Checklist; KBIT = Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test; WIAT-S = Wechsler Individual Achievement Test- Screener; WISC-R = Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Revised; WRAT-R = Wide Range Achievement Test – Revised

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