The number of families with children experiencing homelessness increased by over 30% from 2007 to 2011 (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2011). Of the more than 300,000 children within these families, it is estimated that the majority are under age six (National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009). These young children and their families are disproportionately more likely to experience a myriad of structural, economic, social, and health stressors. Left unaddressed, these stress experiences can adversely influence children’s short- and long-term growth, development, and well-being (Shonkoff, 2011). Recent research demonstrates the protective influence that positive parent-child relationships can exert on children’s development (Shonkoff, 2011). This chapter provides an overview of parenting within the context of homelessness, followed by practice and policy suggestions for promoting positive parent-child relationships among families experiencing homelessness.
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