The perception of "home" by children living with single-parent families in temporary shelters

Alice M Epps, Fordham University


The problem of homelessness in the U.S. is increasing in magnitude, diversity and visibility, with the subpopulation of homeless children with families growing the fastest. In the study, a questionnaire/interview guide was designed to collect self-report information which included pictures drawn by a random sample of sixty elementary school-age children (6-11 year olds), living from one to thirty-six months with homeless single-parent families in one of three temporary shelters located in central Westchester County, New York. The data collected in 1991-1992 were used to create three perception of "home" scales, (Ideal, Positive and Negative), and looked at demographic characteristics of the children that influenced their perception of "home". Analyses of the data and findings from this non-experimental study provided a significant contribution of the child's health on the child's perception of home and the impact of the child's health on the successful accomplishment of critical milestones during the latency stage of development. In addition, the children's age, where they stayed and attended school if friends were there, and the length of time homeless influenced their perception of home. The study identified policy issues, direction for service providers and correlates useful for further research. These factors are essential in understanding and designing strategies to meet the need of this sub-population of homeless children.

Subject Area

Social work|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Welfare

Recommended Citation

Epps, Alice M, "The perception of "home" by children living with single-parent families in temporary shelters" (1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9534287.