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Day to Day...Parent to Child: The Future of Violence Among Homeless Children in America
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The majority of parents now living in homeless shelters, typically young single mothers with one or two children under the age of six, have spent their lives spiraling downward through a complex and self-perpetuating cycle of family violence, community violence, and poverty. Sixty-three percent of homeless parents, a survey has found, live with family violence as adults, and 70% of homeless parents experienced family violence when they were children. Worse yet, today’s homeless children will likely follow in their parents’ footsteps when they grow up. Until society provides and prioritizes violence intervention and access to the basic education required to eliminate the need for reliance on an abuser, homeless shelters across the country will continue to see a stream of future victims and abusers, dependent on emergency services for survival. The plague of family violence does not distinguish between rich or poor, but its impact is most devastating on the poorest of the poor, families who live doubled up or in shelters with few options other than dependence on an abuser. Programs offered in shelters that integrate violence awareness and independent living skills into a structured learning environment succeed in reaching both the identified and unidentified victims of family and community violence. These programs can ensure that more parents and children learn to recognize violence, gain life and job skills, and develop the self-esteem necessary to walk away from abusive situations. Shelters can become places in which families learn to substitute the pain and frustration of violence with an educational investment in themselves. (Author)
Report
1998
New York, NY
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services