Housing instability is a leading factor that contributes to families becoming involved with the child welfare system. Youth and young adults with foster care histories also face increased risk of housing instability upon emancipation from foster care. Stable housing, being one of the basic human needs, has become increasingly difficult for struggling families and young adults to achieve given the current state of the economy and growing housing prices. When individuals and families are afforded basic needs like housing, they are better able to provide a greater level of care to their children and achieve a better sense of personal stability. The following resources provide information on housing issues related to child welfare and programs to assist families from experiencing housing instability.
Building Capacity to Evaluate Interventions for Youth/Young Adults With Child Welfare Involvement At-Risk of Homelessness (YARH), 2013–2024
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (2020)
Provides project descriptions and reports from the first two phases of the Children’s Bureau’s planning and implementation grants to build capacity to end youth homelessness.
Building Effective Keeping Families Together Collaborations
Corporation for Supportive Housing (2020)
Provides child welfare professionals with tips on how to effectively serve families in supportive housing who are involved with child welfare or at risk of child welfare involvement. The page also provides information on how to identify housing resources that exist in communities.
Building Partnerships to Support Stable Housing for Child Welfare-Involved Families and Youth
The Costs and Potential Savings of Supportive Housing for Child Welfare–Involved Families
Urban Institute (2019)
Summarizes results of a cost study conducted by the Children’s Bureau’s funded Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System and the outcomes of providing supportive housing to families in the child welfare system across five demonstration sites.
Examining a Drop-in and Case Management Model for Youth Experiencing Homelessness
Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (2022)
Assesses whether YouthLink’s enhanced and supportive case management model for youth experiencing homelessness resulted in improved outcomes over 6 years, and aspects of the model that contributed to successful intervention.
Family Critical Time Intervention With Housing Unstable, Child Welfare-involved Families: Service Providers’ and Families’ Experiences With the Phases
Bai & Collins & Fischer & Crampton (2020)
Children and Youth Services Review, 119
Discusses a study aimed at filling the critical literature gap on exploring how Family Critical Time Intervention (FCTI) is being carried out in the context of serving housing-unstable families with children in foster care.
Homelessness Resource Exchange
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Provides information, resources, and training to professionals on HUD programs and topical areas, such as affordable housing development, fair housing, ending homelessness, supportive housing services, and more.
Housing and Shelter
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and mental Health Services Administration
Provides information and resources on housing and shelter options for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders who are experiencing housing instability or homelessness.
Housing's Critical Connection to Child Welfare [Podcast]
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2019)
Focuses on how child welfare and housing specialists identify families and work in tandem to navigate the housing system.
- Episode 29: Housing's Critical Connection to Child Welfare – Part 1
- Episode 32: Housing's Critical Connection to Child Welfare – Part 2
How Can Supportive Housing Help Improve Outcomes for Families in the Child Welfare System?
Casey Family Programs (2019)
Provides an overview of key factors and programs that focus on improved outcomes for families who are experiencing housing instability and are involved in child welfare, including characteristics of supportive housing efforts to achieve permanent housing.
How Child Welfare Leaders Can Support Families and Prevent Family Evictions (PDF - 2,520 KB)
Corporation for Supportive Housing (2021)
Discusses the impact of struggling with evictions on families and includes recommendations on what child welfare agencies, family support leaders, and communities can do now to prevent such outcomes. This report also highlights the importance of immediate and long-term cross-sector prevention strategies to promote family housing stability, including a ten-step prevention plan to build community-based prevention supports to strengthen families.
HUD Resource Locator
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Provides an interactive site for housing options and resources for low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities by location, including local affordable housing options, HUD office locations, local public housing authorities (PHAs), homelessness resources, and more. The website also provides information on nationwide public housing programs and contact information for PHAs.
The Importance of Housing Affordability and Stability for Preventing and Ending Homelessness (PDF - 352 KB)
U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (2019)
Explains the importance of housing affordability and stability for families, statistics on housing instability in America, and strategies to prevent homelessness or help families secure stable housing quickly when they do experience homelessness.
Resource Roundup: Housing Support and Stability
U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
Provides a list of resources to connect individuals and families with community supports to prevent reexperiencing housing instability or homelessness, including education, employment, and health care services.
Supporting Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness
Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (2020)
Provides professionals with an eight-module training to deepen their understanding and ability to support families facing homelessness. The training includes knowledge checks and practice scenarios.