• The Family Options Study
  • Volume 19, Number 3
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga
 

U.S. Commentary: Implications From the Family Options Study for Homeless and Child Welfare Services

Patrick J. Fowler
Washington University in St. Louis


The Family Options Study provides an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the troubling link between family homelessness and child maltreatment. The rigorous design uses multiple methods to probe the impact of housing interventions on family preservation and reunification and the underlying mechanisms. Results show that ending homelessness keeps families together; however, once separated, families continue to struggle to reunify with children. Permanent housing subsidies represent a more efficient approach to promoting family stability among homeless families compared with temporary housing with supportive services. Results introduce a new phase of family homeless research, practice, and policy; further investigation must consider broad scale approaches to keep families affordably housed in inclusive communities that protect child safety and well-being.


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