Homeless Parents and Their Children|
Not all homeless parents have their children with them, as the Burt study documents. Among women clients of services for the homeless, 60 percent have children under age 18, but only 65 percent of these mothers live with one or more of their children. Among men clients, 41 percent have children, but only 7 percent of these fathers live with one or more of their children. About 28 percent of the minor children of homeless clients live with that parent, while 72 percent live elsewhere-with other relatives, in foster care, or in institutions. The study estimates that members of homeless families make up about one-third of the clients of homeless services.
Homeless families have, on average, two children. Younger children predominate, with about 42 percent age 5 or under, 33 percent ages 6 to 11, and 20 percent ages 12 to 17 (with some age data not provided). Only 45 percent of the children ages 3 to 5 receiving homeless services are attending preschool, while 93 percent of the school-age children receiving homeless services attend school. About 38 percent of these children are non-Hispanic whites-roughly half the percentage of white children in the general population. In contrast, 47 percent are non-Hispanic black-more than three times the percentage of black children in the general population. Thirteen percent of children receiving homeless services are Hispanic, almost the same as their proportion (14 percent) in the general population.