Homelesness and Children in Australia

The issue of homelessness for children has been a significant social issue in Australia over the past few decades. For the purpose of this assignment, the definition of homelessness is taken from the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program or SAAP, which defines   homeless person as one who ‘has inadequate access to safe and secure housing’(Commonwealth Government, 1994 cited in Gibson & Johnstone, 2010,
pg 5-6). The definition further elaborates on the condition of safe and secure housing to be inadequate, if there are damages or likely damage to a persons health,   or presence of conditions that adversely affects the adequacy, safety, security and affordability of that housing. Therefore, Homelessness is not a static process but a long   and dynamic process due to the numerous changes and phases involved in the life of a homeless person. The essay explores the interrelationship of homelessness and child abuse, factors leading to homelessness and the corresponding impact of it on children. The essay also throws light upon the barriers which prevent a ‘child focussed’ approach in homelessness sectors, followed by recommendations on the same. The essay also highlighted some of the best models of child and family focussed interventions in homelessness services. Finally, the essay concludes with the governement initiatives and the potential of a ‘joined service delivery’ between homelessness and Child Protection sectors.

MacKenzie and Chamberlain (2003) highlights three pathways into homelessness: one being   the result of a housing crisis, the other is the result of a relationship or family breakdown (as in cases of domestic violence) and the third cause is due to transition from youth to adult homelessness. It has been recognised that one of the fastest growing subpopulation of homelessness have been families with children, which make up 26% of all homeless people in 2006 (Chamberlain, C and Mackenzie, D 2008). A South Australian study (Delfabbro,...