The growth and development status of homeless children entering shelters in Boston.
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The growth and development status of homeless children entering shelters in Boston.

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  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      In order to characterize the children who enter emergency shelters in Boston, we reviewed the data collected at intake interviews by the pediatric nurse practitioner visiting 10 family shelters and one hotel in Boston as part of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Project. Families were interviewed soon after their entry into the shelter. Children were weighed and measured, and the Denver Developmental Screening Test (DDST) was administered. From November 1986 to November 1987, 133 families with 213 children were interviewed. Ninety-four percent of the children were in the care of their mothers, and 92 percent were younger than 5 years of age. Sixty-five percent of the families were black, 20 percent were white, and 11 percent were Hispanic. Eighty-nine percent of the families were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits, 90 percent were receiving Medicaid benefits, 72 percent were receiving food stamps, and 52 percent were receiving benefits under the Special Supplement Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children. Eighty-five percent of the children were reported to have a regular source of primary pediatric care, and 23 percent were reported to have medical problems. Weight-for-age, weight-for-height, and height-for-age measurements were similar to those reported for national samples of low income children. Ten children (4.7 percent) were found to have abnormal or questionable DDST examinations.
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