Committed to evidence-based practices that will help create a better future for our nation’s children, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation has been a valuable partner with CSH, working through our Child Welfare and Supportive Housing Resource Center to advance the federal demonstration currently exploring an intensive approach to providing vulnerable families with safe, affordable housing and the services they need to stay together. Known as the Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System, the demonstration impacts five sites across the nation and is supported by the The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Casey Family Programs, and The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF).
After CSH Keeping Families Together (KFT) delivered promising results, ACYF spearheaded the national demonstration to learn more about KFT-based supportive housing and if similar models could reduce homelessness, child maltreatment, child removals and foster care placements, as well as overall child welfare system involvement among vulnerable families.
Because of investments from Edna McConnell Clark, the other foundations and ACF, five grants were awarded to sites in various parts of the country: Broward County (Fla.), Cedar Rapids (Iowa), Memphis (Tenn.), San Francisco and the State of Connecticut to partake in the demonstration. The grantees are now midway through their efforts to implement an intensive supportive housing approach to serving families who come to the attention of their local child welfare agencies because of problems with chronic or recurring homelessness and other serious, persistent issues such as mental illness, alcoholism or drug abuse.
Through this local implementation, backed up by the expertise available through the Child Welfare and Supportive Housing Resource Center, sites are integrating community services for housing and other critical supports for vulnerable families, including customized case management for children and their parents, as well as trauma-informed interventions and mental and behavioral health treatments.
To date, nearly 300 families have been housed and serviced with the supports they need to remain as a family, together, in an apartment of their own.
What the demonstration is accomplishing through supportive housing is critical because we know in many circumstances families staying together means better lives for children. In some studies, nearly 40% of adults experiencing homelessness indicate they were once in foster care and for many the life-long trauma doesn’t stop there. The demonstration, embraced by The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and others, represents a chance to break generational cycles of despair through efforts to heal the whole family with affordable housing and tailored services.
Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System complements The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation’s mission to identify and help expand programs that lift the life prospects of the most neglected youth, the hardest to reach and the least likely to succeed.