Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

What about America's Homeless Children?

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

What about America's Homeless Children?

Article excerpt

What About America's Homeless Children? Paul G. Shane. Thousand Oaks: Sage. 1996. 247 pp. Paperback ISBN 0-8039-49839, $29.95. A commitment to and concern for America's homeless children is delivered eloquently in Paul Shane's recent book. What About America's Homeless Children? explores this social problem within its contextual causality from its beginnings through a lens informed by Lewinian and systems theory. In the first part, Shane discusses the extent of the problem and identifies and describes four groups of homeless children-familial, unaccompanied, street youth, and babies. He looks at homeless children in the context of the interactional and reciprocal relationships that people and families have within families, within their communities, and within society and the world-or at the micro-, mezzo-, and macro-environment levels. Specific attention is given to those social, educational, health, and mental health needs and issues of homeless children. A final chapter in Part One discusses homeless children as an outcome of the social policies of the 1980s and 1990s and the societal issues of today's America.

In Part Two, Shane gives us a glimpse of life on the streets for homeless children and their families. He uses personal vignettes, ranging from unaccompanied children to survivors. He ends this section with a brief review of how the media, specifically television documentaries and the movies, have left us with a limited understanding, at best, and a sense of helplessness, at worst.

In the remainder of the book, Parts Three and Four, Shane presents an overview of the responses of governmental and private agencies that have been made to date. …

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