1.5 Ecologically Based Family Therapy for Adolescents Who Have Left Home

Adolescents who access shelters have usually experienced high levels of family conflict and a lack of family support (Ferguson, 2009; Tyler, 2006). Their home environments are often characterized by instability, including a lack of parental protection, chaos in the household, and substance use among family members. Moreover, these adolescents often experience maltreatment, including verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as emotional neglect and rejection (Ferguson, 2009). Studies report that 50% to 83% of youth who are homeless have experienced physical abuse and 17% to 39% have experienced sexual abuse (Edidin, Ganim, Hunter, & Karnik, 2012; Gwadz, Nish, Leonard, & Strauss, 2007). The problems youth face at home are often motivators for leaving home and a barrier to returning. This means that including the family in intervention efforts can optimize positive outcomes.

Sean Kidd, Natasha Slesnick, Tyler Frederick, Jeff Karabanow, Stephen Gaetz
Publication Date: 
Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press