A recent study from The Urban Institute and article from Route Fifty link supportive, permanent housing and other wraparound services to better child welfare outcomes, including increased reunification.
Does supportive housing help keep families together and reduce their time spent in the child welfare system? Do wraparound services improve health and well-being for parents and children?
These are a few of the questions The Urban Institute seeks to answer with its recent study on the overlap between housing instability and the need for supportive services, including child welfare.
You can read more details and analysis here:
- Does Supportive Housing Keep Families Together? [Full study from The Urban Institute]
- Wraparound Support is Key to Keeping Families Out of the Child Welfare System, Report Says [Summary from Route Fifty]
As Route Fifty notes, the results of the study are mixed, as each of the five states participating in the grant program analyzed structured their programs slightly differently based on resources available in their community. However, the data collected so far is promising.
For example, reunification was more likely and happened roughly twice as fast for the families who received additional services and caseworker support. Parents also reported feeling less stressed and were able to attend parenting classes, which can have a big impact in reducing out-of-home placements.
On one hand, this study isn’t surprising: I’ve seen first-hand how stable housing, food, and assistance can eliminate barriers for families and reduce the need for child welfare intervention.
That said, it still underscores an important point: it’s easy to see the various program areas within human services as separate silos with their own unique goals and priorities. It’s easy to see an individual through the eyes of the one specific program or benefit they walk through the door to apply for.
But, we can create a more direct path to stability by understanding and providing the whole body of services a person needs. Increased communication, collaboration, and information-sharing is the key.