Mcarthur, M., Moore, T. & Noble-Carr, D. (2008). Too important to ignore: Children's views on homelessness. Parity,21(8), 20-21.
The key themes related to the provision of services to children and families are discussed. The wishes raised by the children in the project are also highlighted. Today homeless families make up approximately a third of Australia’s homeless population (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2006), with children who accompany a parent or guardian making up 36% (more than one in three) of all people accessing the Supported Accommodation and Assistance Program (SAAP) services (AIHW, 2006). Although making up such a large proportion of homeless Australians, there has been limited investigation about how children understand and experience homelessness and the implications that these different perspectives might have on the way we respond to homeless families in Australia. In 2006, the Institute of Child Protection Studies at the Australian Catholic University conducted a research project to explore and understand the unique perspectives of children and young people who had accompanied their parents during periods of homelessness in the most comprehensive and appropriate way possible. It was carried out between March 2006 and February 2007. Twenty five children and young people participated in the study — two thirds were under 14 years of age. The sample included 8 young people aged 15 21 years; two who were currently homeless with their families and 6 who reflected on their experiences of family homelessness when they were children. This paper attempts to summarise the key themes related to the provision of services to children and families and highlights a number of wishes that children raised in the project. It builds upon an article included in a previous edition of Parity. A report of the project’s broader findings is downloadable f r o m t h e I n s t i t u t e ’s w e b s i t e a t www.acu.edu.au/icps.
Institute of Child Protection Studies
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