Homes to Prevent Child Maltreatment

Families who experience homelessness are more likely to have their children placed in foster care than other low-income families, reports City Limits in a profile about a new housing program. Run by the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Keeping Families Together (KFT) is one of the country’s first supportive housing programs created with the explicit mission of keeping kids out of foster care. KFT provides families with permanent housing and the option to receive services that can help them create safe, healthy environments for their children. Families eligible for KFT must be chronically homeless and parents must suffer from substance abuse, mental illness, or both. However, sobriety testing and service participation is not a requirement of the program, which relies on staff who respect residents’ autonomy while supporting their goals.

KFT currently houses 26 families in six privately operated sites in New York City, where 22,0000 children are homeless each night. So far, the program is showing promising results. While a small number of families have withdrawn from KFT voluntarily, often due to a need for more intensive services, the families who stick with it have seen a marked decrease in child welfare involvement. KFT families had 46 cases of indicated child abuse and neglect cases in the three years before they entered the program. In the three years after moving in, families had only 13 new indicated cases of abuse or neglect cases, with none of those cases leading to new children entering foster care.