CJL Blog: Staying Aware

The Insider to Trauma, Substance and Relationships

Homeless Children/Teen and Treatment: Does being homeless effects the type of care they receive?

Being new to the blogging word of therapy, I requested readers to send me emails on topic of interest. This week’s topic sparked my interest in addressing the type of treatment a child/teen who are homeless.  As I was researching this topic, it started to become clear. Limited research has been developed for this population.  Most importantly, statistic has not provided the correct representation for this population.  Many factors associated with homeless were addressed such as sexual orientation, abuse (physical, emotional and sexual abuse), and mental health problems. However, these factors were discussed more in details for adults.

Individuals that were active participants in a study related to the homeless receiving treatment, were in shelter, or have been placed in a foster home. Unfortunately, I have not discovered research devoting their time to interact with at risk youth living on the street. Those who have limited access to shelters, being able to be placed in foster care, and those who have been consumed by the world of prostitution.  Then, continued to follow these individuals through the system to determine if he or she receives the appropriate treatment.

According to Robertson and Toro (Year unknown), with the limitations on this topic is difficult to provide an overview on the topic of homeless. The research that has been completed do speak the increase need for additional services. “Other needed services include screening and treatment for health, mental health, and substance use problems, reconciling family conflict, and educational or vocational training. In addition to serving those already homeless, interventions designed to prevent homelessness among at-risk youth are needed” (pg. 2).  The article continues to discuss the over emphasis on different factors associated with homeless due to cross-sectional samples.

Another reason as to why this article was interesting to me are the intervention strategies.  To the next group of individuals that wish to tackle this topic. Robertson and Toro (year unknown) pointed out the imperative to include methods to reduce the risk encountered while homeless. Also how to provide services to each developmental level.  Meaning, youth under the age of 17 still have the opportunity to be reunited with their families, or be place in the foster care system for stability. Youth that are older and entering into adulthood, if possible learn to be independent and being able to obtain the proper education. Services should also address the mental health, substance abuse, and trauma history.






Toro, P. A., Dworsky, A., & Fowler, P. J. (2007, March). Homeless youth in the United States: Recent research findings and intervention approaches. InPaper developed for the National Symposium on Homelessness Research, Washington, DC.

Elaine Smith