Date of Completion

4-24-2012

Embargo Period

4-24-2012

Open Access

Open Access

Abstract

Many families involved in the child welfare system also face housing difficulties. Housing problems can disrupt family preservation efforts and delay reunifications from foster care. Supportive housing programs work with families who have dual vulnerabilities in housing and child welfare to integrate services and improve outcomes. Families in these programs might face barriers in addition to their housing and child welfare needs, but little is known about other risk factors in this population. This study uses a sample of 80 clients referred to a supportive housing for families program in order to examine the rate and prevalence of other risk factors: mental health needs, parenting stress, and substance abuse. Overall, 34.2% of clients had mental health needs, 46.0% showed elevated levels of parenting stress in at least one dimension, and 31.3% were identified as being at a moderate to high risk for substance abuse. For many of these clients, these risks were co-occurring. Additionally, after meeting with clients, Assessment Specialists completed a comprehensive measure of family functioning; high levels of barriers were reflected for families across multiple domains. A better understanding of risk at intake can help inform case management, match services to client needs, and guide the use of limited program resources more effectively.

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