According to the report of the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), there are 1.5 million children or maybe more who suffer homelessness Children who are brought up in poverty face extraordinary experiences that involve social challenges, critical stressors and healthcare issues. Most of them do not often behave differently, but they encounter day-to-day overpowering challenges, some of them are seriously affected. This paper is a discussion about the different implications on how children with different family economic factors, socioeconomic status, and challenges behave differently when faced with homelessness.
Poverty of which results to being homeless is generally an urban occurrence, thus far children are living in families without home and on the streets in every area around the world from developing nations to the wealthiest nations. Unsteady political changes instigated the exceptional statistics of homeless children because of insufficient social safekeeping for the underprivileged families. The children frequently face the impacts of economic, political and societal predicaments in their nations more harshly than grownups. It is very unfortunate that several countries lack the suitable organized scheme to attend to the needs of these homeless families and most particularly the essential needs of the children involved. Sooner or later, these underprivileged children end up homeless and end up living on the streets. Records revealed by the Online Journal of the International Child and Youth Care Network ( Kanth) in the year 1996 that there were 5.5 million children in America existing in poverty and there was just about one million of these children who stayed on the streets. Luxembourg Income Study revealed the information that the underprivileged children in America are more underprivileged than those children in most Western developed nations. This situation happened because of United States lack of substantial social approaches, the extensive breach between wealthy and underprivileged, and the high statistics of underprivileged immigrant and cases of teenage pregnancies. The scarcity and destitution that numerous children in the United States encounter contribute to the enormous statistics of homelessness and children living on the streets.
Those children who are exposed to street living take account of those young ones who have been left behind by their parents or relatives because of a situation of extreme poverty. Most of them are hoping that they could find a job and earn some money to help their families. On the other hand, children who flee from home or organizations often wind up on the street as they seldom go back to their homes because of the troubles such as problematic families, or any form of abuse.
Poverty and being homeless evidently affects every aspect of a child’s day-to-day living conditions. Experiencing poverty and homelessness impedes the emotional, physical, mental, social, and age-related growth of children (Shegos, 1999). Most of these young children who experienced homelessness are parted from their family or parents, which can be the grounds of long-standing undesirable effects. Homeless children of pre-school age correspondingly are more expected to show major growing delays and experience emotional glitches. Moreover, environmental aspects likewise cause to these poor children’s depressing health, and they are at high danger for communicable illnesses. This situation is due to poor nourishment of which correspondingly resulted to their poor health. Additionally, these homeless children are threatened with traumatic and disturbing happenings and most often, they are still very young to be able to comprehend the undesirable events. In most cases, this situation contributes to their emotional distress. The stressors are gathered through series of negative experiences and possibly lead to higher occurrence of mental illnesses and sadly these changes of behaviors are displayed by homeless children (Pedersen). Another extent that is affected by homelessness and poverty of young children is the academic performance. Some studies reveal that the educational performance is hindered both by their poor intellectual progress and by the conditions of their poverty. This notion is due to the fact that being homeless means continuous mobility. They are observed to be inclined to have poor performance on math, understanding, language and vocabulary examinations (“Membership”).
Usually, the weak or restless affections shaped by infants who suffer poverty and homelessness turn out to be the source for full-scale insecurity throughout the early childhood periods. Supposedly, young children necessitate hale and hearty learning and study for ideal brain progress. Regrettably, in poverty-stricken families there lean towards to a greater incidence of such adversative issues as teen-age pregnancy, hopelessness, and insufficient healthcare. All of the mentioned factors contribute to less caring and providing healthcare to the infants of which results to weak academic performance and manners on the particular child's later years. Correspondingly, most of these homeless children do not get their essential needs compared to those children who have better social standing. This situation can have terrible consequences, insufficiencies in some important areas can actually change the appropriate pattern of maturity for these children and greatly influence on how they perceive things around them. Therefore, these consequences cause possible serious emotional distress. In several cases of these homeless children, parental education is likewise poor. Parents are most often do not have the time to look after their children properly. Some of these parents are observed to be overstrained, and strict with children. There are situations that some of these parents apply punitive disciplinary measures of which evidently display the absence of warmth and compassion for the children. These situations clearly show the failure to institute a healthy relationship between the parents and children (“Membership”). There are also case that these children are left in their homes to take care of themselves and the other younger brothers and sisters. The lack of adult supervision for these children readily results to long-standing emotional and social complications.
Correspondingly, these homeless children’s unsteady lifestyles, deficiency of health care, and insufficient living situations intensify young children’s vulnerability to prolonged diseases or infections for instance, respiratory illnesses, stomach ailments, and sexually-transmitted infections, as well as the risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS (Kanth). As these children are left to take care of themselves, some seek abusive type of job just to have food on their plate. Records also revealed that some of these homeless children are used by other manipulative individuals to sell drugs, engage in prostitution and robbery incidents. Other children who live in the streets also resort to drugs to forget the difficulties of their situations. The psychological, social and emotive development of children is greatly influenced by their wandering way of life and the manner in which they are punished by the societies who continually eject them from their transitory homes. These children who live on the streets definitely are deprived of security, safeguard and remain to confront an established undesirable shame about vagrancy. Unlike children who have stable families and parents who continue to provide love and care for their young ones, these poor children relentlessly experience the cruelty of life. Most of the times these homeless children are exposed to various dangers and unhealthy environments of which make them behave defiantly. If the situation continues to happen as researches and studies reveal that the quantities of homeless people including children are increasing, then there is certainly a great possibility of more damaging events for all the societies experiencing problems of poverty. The worldwide economic downturn is undeniable but this situation does not mean that the problem of homelessness should be disregarded. One of the topmost priorities of any government should be focused on protecting the children for any possible harm because they are the future bearers of humanity. These children would sooner or later turn out to be adults and be in-charge of the different fields in the society. If most children are not brought up properly or poorly educated, then there would be a world full of atrocities and chaos.
Strong and healthy relationships positively cultivate young children's performance and attitude. A good relationship between family members provides the fundamental supervision necessary to construct lasting social abilities. It has been proven that children who mature with such connections learn strong, fitting emotional reactions to daily conditions. On the other hand, homeless children or children living on the streets frequently fail to acquire these reactions and concepts because they do not have the same privilege compared to children with affluent families. This notion evidently results to the trouble of their academic performance. It is reported that the Board of Education data indicated that most of the homeless children performed poorly compared to children with secured families and shelters (Lorch). The report presented the learners' low performance and further difficulties predominantly because of the fact that there are families that are being relocated from housing to housing all through the school year. It is also reported that the absence of stable shelters and inadequate food, not actually poor schooling, had turn out to be an obstruction to acquiring knowledge. Most experts on children assert that the deficiency of shelters extremely disturbs any child's intellectual progress and contribute to a child's absence of self-confidence. And because of the huge tendency of being psychologically disturbed, more insistent complications may happen to these homeless children. In connection with the psychological issues of homeless children, a study reveals that they are involved in higher percentages of mental health complications associated to the overall population. The incidence of psychiatric illnesses in children without shelters may be 32 percent higher than the 19 percent in the overall population (Monn). It has likewise related that children without shelters have the same condition with the families of poverty-stricken children even if these homeless children are more exposed to the undesirable occurrences on the streets. Nevertheless, several of these pressures and hassles are generally an indication of poverty itself.
This notion suggests that the families of children should learn how to cope with the risk of poverty as most of the time they end up homeless. They should be taught on how to adjust with their current difficulties through directing for family and difficulty variables. The school should also support programs of which make these poor children acquire self-regulatory abilities or protective features. However, although the school has the ability to teach the children to learn on how to cope with poverty, the parents should take the main role. This idea is also true to the role of caregivers in families without homes. Caregivers may play a particularly significant role in guiding children to adjust after distressing circumstances through whole-hearted and profound nurturing, demonstrating fitting handling behavior, and helping the child process the traumatic experience. However, this concept is quite complicated because of the fact that these parents are also exposed to numerous pressures or burdens of which place them to vulnerable positions. This situation should be considered when one would try to help homeless children. The needs of those individuals like the caregivers and parents should not be disregarded because they belong to the key elements that could help in teaching the children to adjust to the difficulties or troubles when experiencing homelessness (Monn). Helpful schemes intended to lessen parent pressure so as to help stop child mistreatment and lack of food assistance schemes that assist families without shelters. It is strongly suggested that interventions schemes can concentrate on enhancing the availability and effectivity of protective factors for the children without homes.
There exists documented information about the most operative programs for accomplishing the fundamental needs of homeless children. Some experts and authorities in the field suggested that more investigations and studies should be conducted to avoid undesirable situations to protect the homeless children against drug abuse and this action can only be completed through proper implementation of programs (Robertson). On the other hand, it cannot be denied that several homeless youth have numerous intersecting complications such as substance misuse, and emotional difficulties. Despite the fact that there have been several government programs conducted to lessen the problem of homelessness, the said problem continues to grow. The government programs should focus more on the formulating or conducting various services to alleviate the problem and provide long-lasting necessities of the young children. Housing programs for homeless families are widely made by the government but disputes and disagreements still occur. It should be highly considered that any group and sponsoring of services for children without homes should be informed by dependable facts about the people and its necessities so that the distribution of assistance services are catered rightfully to those who really deserve it. There should be standard means to be able to identify the actual families who suffer homelessness. It is important to be able to determine the appropriate things to be done so as to avoid troubles and unnecessary complications. Another aspect includes the part of gathering the thoughts of the youth themselves to arrive at a profound understanding on their poor situation. In this manner, attainment of long-lasting answer or solution to the homelessness of children would be possibly applied. The process may be long and tough but as long as it is an appropriate approach to get the work done, there would be fewer obstacles to overcome.
All in all, the most deprived families with children, inside or external of housing, likewise necessitate sufficient levels of assistances to meet simple needs. More acceptable and constant benefits, together with the rise in the source of inexpensive shelter would surely stop numerous families from turning out to be victims of homelessness. Contemporary readings have highlighted connections, rather than dissimilarities, between homeless and underprivileged-housed youth on processes of progress and psychological difficulties (Monn). Numerous results of the researches and studies conducted from the past point out the necessity for a social policy program that tries to find a way to end the occurrence of poverty in children. Aside from giving shelter, strength, and services for homeless families, it should be realized that educating these families is one of the ultimate objective. For these homeless people to learn signifies that they would have the chance to acquire knowledge on how to improve themselves (Robertson). In this way, these homeless children would be able to perceive life positively because they are going to be knowledgeable enough to adapt and embody resilience no matter how hard the situation would be for them.
In conclusion, the present day’s economic downturn brought several problems to this generation of children. It includes homelessness because of poverty. It is very significant to make these children of underprivileged families be equipped with the right information for them to be aware of their situation (Pedersen). The societies around the world must cultivate a fitting and operational response to be able to protect the children from harm. Each and every person has the responsibility to make the world better for these children.
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