Family Interventions for Youth Experiencing Homelessness or At Risk of Homelessness

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a new report entitled Family Interventions for Youth Experiencing Homelessness or At Risk of Homelessness.

Family conflict is a key driver of youth homelessness; and most programs serving youth experiencing homelessness use some form of family intervention to address conflict and help reconnect youth when appropriate. This report summarizes existing evidence on family intervention strategies for youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness gathered through a literature review and supplemented with conversations with a small set of key informants. It also includes a summary of common elements of effective interventions and a discussion of gaps in the evidence base.

The report concludes that the research has uncovered a few effective family intervention strategies that provide insight into what makes these strategies successful, but more research is needed to evaluate those targeted specifically to youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness, including key groups of youth such as racial and ethnic minorities and those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. Further, only 7 of the 49 interventions examined included a school-based component, either by including schools in tailoring the intervention plan or helping families engage with schools to support youth education. The field could benefit from cross-sector learning and collaboration between juvenile justice, child welfare, education, and runaway and homeless youth (RHY) systems and providers.

While the report is lengthy, the executive summary highlights the report’s key takeaway points.