Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Mental Health and Homeless Children: A New Report
The National Center on Family Homelessness released an interesting report today: America's Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness. Massachusetts did reasonably well- overall ranking of 8th out of 50, with extensive state policies and planning in place. Even so, Massachusetts ranked 18th in terms of "child well-being"; 20% of families at less than 50% of the Federal poverty line (the new proxy for homelessness) reported children with health conditions that were "moderate or severe"; and 10% of those families reported "severe emotional disturbance" in at least one child in the family, language that should be familiar the readers of this blog. (Interestingly, kids under 100% of FPL have an almost 20% rate of SED, then it tapers off). When one looks at the relationship between homelessness and SED at the National level, Massachusetts is doing better. While I not entirely sure how this information was gleaned, it does seem that our rate of 10% is better than many. Not clear that this is not just the result of undercounting. The link between mental health and children's social determinants is clear; we need these kids to have better access to resources if we are going to address them.