2.5 Ecologically Based Treatment for Mothers Experiencing Homelessness Who Have Children in Their Care

The majority of families that are homeless are headed by single mothers who have an average of two young children in their care. These mothers are especially vulnerable
because they struggle to meet the basic needs of their children and themselves. In addition to the stress of homelessness, they also often struggle with substance use, and physical and mental health problems (Slesnick, Glassman, Katafiasz, & Collins, 2012). Moreover, the harshness of homelessness creates parenting difficulties. Mothers stressed by hunger, threats to safety, and lack of social support are challenged to respond effectively to their children’s needs (David, Gelberg, & Suchman, 2012). Despite the great need for acquiring intervention services, mothers who are homeless may be reluctant to access substance use treatment due to fear of having their children removed from their care (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2006). In most cases, however, housing is the primary and most immediate need of these mothers.

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