This paper reviews the literature on homeless children, especially as it relates to health concerns, developmental characteristics, school concerns, and the resiliency of homeless children. The topic of homelessness became popular in the late 1980s and this review focuses on research from 1987 to the present. Research indicates that compared to other children, homeless children experience more health problems, developmental problems, emotional problems, and esteem problems. However, studies that have paired homeless children with housed children of the same socioeconomic level showed that the developmental problems experienced by homeless children were similar to the problems experienced by housed children. Of particular importance are early findings that indicate that Head Start and similar preschool programs can greatly reduce the behavioral and emotional disturbances found in many homeless children. Due to the early stage of research on this topic, many findings are inconclusive.
Patty Peters, ’97
Sponsor: Carolyn Enns