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Think child think family: child and family-sensitive practice in specialist homelessness service

Public health Homelessness Social security Well-being Poverty Social issues Housing Families Human rights Children Youth Australia


In late 2009, Australian Centre for Child Protection researchers surveyed staff from 107 specialist homelessness services operating across Australia.

Of these services:
• Almost half had fewer than five staff members
• The main client group of half of the services were women and women with children escaping domestic violence
• Many accommodated more children than adults

Suggestions made by staff to improve responses to homeless children included:
• Increasing staffing levels in homelessness services and increasing access to staff skilled in working with children
• Increasing housing availability and improving the appropriateness of housing for families
• Strengthening links between services and sectors to facilitate resource-pooling
• Improving homeless children’s access to specialist services such as speech therapy, dentistry and counselling
• Creating more opportunities for recreational and group activities

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