The Relationship between Foster Care and Homelessness

By Roman, Nan P.; Wolfe, Phyllis B. | Public Welfare, Winter 1997 | Go to article overview

The Relationship between Foster Care and Homelessness


Roman, Nan P., Wolfe, Phyllis B., Public Welfare


Research shows that children in foster care have a greater chance of becoming homeless adults.

Editor's note: The paper that forms the basis for this article was first presented at the National Colloquium on Housing and Public Welfare, hosted by the American Public Welfare Association's Research and Demonstration Department. The September 1996 conference in Alexandria, Virginia, was part of a study focusing on housing and foster care. The colloquium was funded by the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services.

I never felt like I was loved - that anybody really cared. I felt like the black sheep of the family.

Latasha Birmingham, Alabama

In the late 1980s, the National Alliance To End Homelessness began to hear from service providers around the country that a seemingly disproportionate number of homeless people had a foster care history. Although their conclusions were based largely on anecdotal information, providers reported that many of the people who were becoming homeless as adults had been in foster care as children, often spending years in a mixture of official foster care placements and other, less formal, "placements" with relatives and friends. At the time, the alliance was involved in a national project on the prevention of homelessness. The alliance was motivated to pursue the foster care issue because it believed that if foster care and homelessness were somehow connected, interventions in the foster care system might help to prevent homelessness.

As the alliance began to investigate, it discovered that both foster care placements and homelessness increased in the United States during the 1980s. It also found some research on individual homeless programs, and on specific subpopulations of the homeless population, that did indeed indicate that people with a foster care history were overrepresented among the homeless people surveyed. Moreover, there was evidence that homeless people with a foster care history were more likely than other homeless people to have their own children in foster care.

Based on these preliminary findings, the alliance decided to undertake a modest research project to examine the relationship between foster care and homelessness on a national level and across all subpopulations of people who are homeless. The research was funded by the Freddie Mac Foundation. The full findings, which are summarized in this article, are contained in Web of Failure: The Relationship Between Foster Care and Homelessness and its appendix, published by the alliance.

The Complex Nature of Homelessness

This article examines the interrelationship between foster care and homelessness.(1) Its purpose is to establish whether or not people with a foster care history are overrepresented in the homeless population.

To properly understand any relationship between homelessness and foster care, one must first understand the complex nature of homelessness. Homeless people are the poorest of our nation's poor, and as such reflect the face of poverty in America. They are families, primarily with one parent, but often with two. They are people who work but do not earn enough to pay for housing. They are unemployed people - those looking for work and those, young and old, who have never worked. And they are women and children escaping from domestic violence.

The alliance estimates that on any given night, over 730,000 Americans are homeless. Over the course of a year, between 1.3 million and 2 million Americans are homeless. This number includes the people who live on the streets, in emergency or transitional shelters, and in cars or abandoned buildings. It does not include the people housed in institutions, the millions of people who are doubled up with family or friends, or the millions more who are precariously housed, paying such a large percentage of their incomes for rent that any unforeseen medical expense or temporary job loss could dislodge them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Relationship between Foster Care and Homelessness
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.