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[1]  In the U.S. and other developed nations, relatively few homeless families (12 to 20 percent) include children age 12 or older (Buckner, Bassuk, Weinreb, & Brooks, 1999; Burt et al., 2001), and children under age 12 are rarely found homeless on their own (Robertson & Toro, 1999). In fact, many shelters for homeless families exclude children age 12 or older who shelter staff fear might prey upon the younger ones. As a result, homeless families with older children are often compelled to leave their older children with friends or relatives before entering a shelter.

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