Screening for Housing Instability and Homelessness Among Families Undergoing Child Maltreatment Investigation

Screening for Housing Instability and Homelessness Among Families Undergoing Child Maltreatment Investigation

This paper reports results of mixed methods, population survey of housing instability, and homelessness. Child welfare personnel conducted the Quick Risks and Assets for Family Triage (QRAFT), a three-question screening tool intended to identify housing instability and homelessness. The QRAFT requires users to assess family housing history, current housing arrangement, and current housing condition, on a four-point scale from “asset/not a risk” to “severe risk.” The QRAFT was completed among 6828 families undergoing new child maltreatment investigations. Approximately 5.4% of families demonstrated significant to severe housing problems; approximately one-third exhibited moderate housing risk. Housing problems and homelessness were significantly associated with the outcome of child welfare investigations; among families with substantiated child welfare determinations, 21% demonstrated significant to severe housing risk, a significantly higher proportion than among families where the investigation outcome was unsubstantiated or differential response (i.e., voluntary services). Of significant to severe housing risk families, 15.7% later met eligibility criteria for a supportive housing intervention, suggesting that housing concerns combined with substantial parent and child functional difficulties. Qualitative data indicated the QRAFT was perceived as easy to administer, effective as a screening tool, and useful to “apply the housing lens” early in child welfare involvement.

JOURNAL: American Journal of Community Psychology
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017