Using after-shelter case management to improve outcomes for families with children.
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Using after-shelter case management to improve outcomes for families with children.

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    Public Health Rep
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    Homelessness and living in shelters have complex and multiple adverse effects on children that lend urgency to assisting families with children to leave shelters and to achieve independent and stable living arrangements. Some shelters offer only short-term housing with no additional support services. Others offer long stays with a comprehensive range of social and economic support services. While living in a shelter, families are faced with such major challenges as finding employment that is adequate to meeting the family's financial needs and locating permanent housing. Because shelter or street living may exacerbate children's health and developmental problems, families with children should move from them into a stable home situation as quickly as possible. The researchers examined some of the specific effects of living in a shelter for homeless families with children in Virginia Beach, VA. They focused on whether the policy of offering families after-shelter case management services for 1 year decreased their average length of the time in the shelter, and whether case management of families with children for 1 year after leaving a shelter increased the proportion of families who obtained permanent housing. A non experimental descriptive design was used. In case management after the shelter stay, an advisor worked intensively with families, helping to locate resources and serving as a resource link, assisting with application processes, providing transportation when necessary, and acting as advocate and support person. Some families needed minimal assistance, while others needed more intensive assistance. The findings suggest that case management services for families following discharge from a homeless shelter effectively reduces the length of stay ina shelter and increases housing stability after discharge from the shelter. For this sample, the average shelter stay was reduced from 31.1 to 22.8 days.
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