DE BLASIO SERIES: HOW'S HE DOING?
Of the over 20,000 children in homeless shelters, nearly half are under 6 years old. We know from research how crucial the early years are to lifelong development. Yet families now stay an average of over 400 days in city shelters—an eternity for a small child.
The new Child Welfare Watch report describes the stresses that homelessness puts on families with young children, and explores the discontinuity between the large number of young children in the shelter system and the dearth of services available to them. It reveals that currently the most common way for a family in a shelter to receive support for young children is to become known to child welfare authorities—a help that often goes hand-in-hand with the fear that children will be removed to foster care.