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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
A Welfare Reform-Homelessness-Foster Care Connection? The Story of "Lag Families" and "Limbo Children" in San Diego
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An analysis of data from a survey of more than 100 parents residing in emergency shelter in San Diego, CA, reveals a portrait of poverty that is prevalent among women and children in the United States today. Homeless families in San Diego, as in the rest of the country, are most often headed by women in their early thirties whose prospects for independence seem bleak. Only half have a high school diploma, and less than one-third have full-time jobs. Almost half of these families had already been homeless once before. The scarcity of shelter beds in San Diego forces families to sleep in motels, in shelter offices, and on lobby floors. Welfare rolls in San Diego have dropped roughly 18% since reforms were first implemented in January 1998, and family homelessness has soared. Three times as many families sought shelter this year as in the previous year. An alarming number of homeless parents are reporting that their children are being placed in foster care because of welfare reform. Evidence from San Diego suggests that welfare reforms are placing children’s lives in “limbo”. (Homes for the Homeless)
Homes for the Homeless
New York, NY