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the national center for housing and child welfare nchcw
The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (NCHCW)
  • NCHCW links housing resources to child welfare agencies to improve family functioning, prevent family homelessness, safely reduce the need for out-of-home placement, and ensure that each young person who ages out foster care is able to access safe, decent, permanent housing.
the nchcw approach
The NCHCW Approach
  • NCHCW makes the housing-child welfare connection on three key levels:
    • Policy: Housing and child welfare policies must reflect the real needs of families. For example, NCHCW revived $20 million in funding for FUP so that child welfare can appropriately match housing needs with services.
    • Program: Communication between systems is key. Bringing system chiefs together can result in resources for cw families and youth. For example, HACLV set aside 50 vouchers for youth.
    • Practice: All workers must know about resources and where to get them. NCHCW cross-trains front line workers and improves relationships.
housing matters
Housing Matters
  • Housing affects families at each decision point in the child welfare continuum. Children from families with housing problems are:
    • More likely to be investigated by CPS (Culhane et al, 2004)
    • More likely to be placed in out-of-home care (Courtney et al, 2004)
    • Longer stayers in foster care (Jones, 1998)
  • Thirty percent of children in foster care are there because of housing problems (Doerre & Mihaly, 1996; Hagedorn, 1995; Thoma, 1998).
  • Housing poses a special challenge for which cw workers are uniquely ill-equipped (English, 2005).
housing is cost effective
Housing is Cost-Effective
    • A $20 million investment in FUP means that more than 9,000 children can return home. This will result in a savings of $134 million in foster care expenditures. (Harburger and White, 2004).
  • It costs approximately $53,500 to serve a homeless young person on the street or in residential treatment but supportive housing for one young person costs only $5,300. (Van Leeuwen, 2004).
nationally renowned cw leaders agree
Nationally Renowned CW Leaders Agree…
  • "If we can invest resources that we now spend to have kids in foster care to help stabilize their families so that they can take care of their own kids, that would be better for the kids, better for the families, and better for the child-welfare system," Donald says. "The system's past failures are not due to lack of resources. They really are not. And that definitely includes Baltimore City." Instead, she says resources have been poorly allocated. It is cheaper to provide services for families than to house kids in group homes, which can cost the system $72,000 a year per child. (MD DHR Secretary Brenda Donald, June 10, 2009, Baltimore City Paper)
asfa and housing
ASFA and Housing
  • Without housing resources, states will continue to fall short of the ASFA goals of safety, permanency, and well-being.
  • In a 2001 review of family preservation and family support programs, Chaffin, Bonner, and Hill found that programs designed to meet basic needs were more effective at preventing recurrence of maltreatment than programs which offered parenting and child development-oriented services.
  • Eamon and Koppel (2004) found that “Norman” families (those families assisted with housing subsidies) had reduced rates of out-of- home placement, fewer days in substitute care, and a greater rate of reunification resulting in significant cost savings to the department.
sustained investments in housing services are effective
Sustained Investments in Housing Services are Effective
  • Sustained investments make the difference in preventing recurrence of maltreatment
    • in cases of great financial stress, a small handout or purchase of equipment may not tangibly improve the plight of families.
    • Ryan & Schuerman (2004) found that families who received housing improved their circumstances, while families who received cash assistance continued to have problems. They theorize that this is because in order to get cash assistance, you have to continue to report problems – which is not the case with housing assistance.
how can cw begin to address housing
How can CW begin to address housing?
  • Acknowledge the difficulty that the lack of housing tools poses to frontline cw staff.
  • Consider the advantage that cw workers have over homeless shelter workers in preventing family and youth homelessness.
  • Train cw workers on housing issues and resources.
  • Partner with housers to provide housing tools to cw workers.
  • Participate in conversations governing the distribution of community housing resources.
housing resources
Housing Resources
  • ARRA Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP)
  • Community Action Programs (received $1 billion in CSBG ARRA funds)
  • HOME
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit
  • City and State housing funds, SHFAs
  • Private Landlords
  • Public Housing Authorities – Section 8 and PH
  • Family Unification Program
what is the family unification program fup
What is the Family Unification Program (FUP)?
  • FUP is a housing program for families and aging-out youth in the child welfare system. At minimum, FUP provides Section 8 vouchers to child welfare families.
  • FUP is a local level collaboration between Housing Authorities and Child Welfare Agencies.
  • FUP is designed to strengthen and stabilize families and assist aging out youth reach independence.
what is the status of fup
What is the status of FUP?
  • From 1992 through 2001, HUD awarded an average of 3,500 vouchers to FUP.
  • In 2000, Sen. Bond added youth ages 18-22 who left foster care after age 16 as an eligible population for FUP.
  • From 2002-2007, Congress provided funding but HUD opted not to fund FUP .
fup status continued
FUP Status continued
  • In 2008, Sens. Murray and Bond directed HUD to spend $20 million on FUP, those funds will be distributed this summer.
  • HUD currently ALSO has $20 million from FY09 which will be distributed before the end of the year. $20 million is included in the Senate FY2010 bill
  • Many communities opt to create a FUP or expand one using regular vouchers
what are the benefits of fup
What are the Benefits of FUP?
  • For PHAs: increased ability to serve clientele, more Section 8 vouchers, administrative fees.
  • For CWAs: expanded access to housing solutions for families, caseworkers.
  • For families: affordable housing, stability, reunification, exit from the child welfare system.
  • For the community: it is the preferred and most cost-effective alternative to foster care for homeless families.
establishing a fup
Establishing a FUP
  • Dedicate Section 8 subsidies to FUP
    • determine a reasonable number of vouchers to set aside for the program
      • set a local preference or
      • apply to HUD for FUP vouchers
build the partnership
Build the Partnership
  • Gain an understanding of the mission and limitations of your partner agency
  • Lay out and agree upon the responsibilities of each partner agency
  • Specify the type and duration of services to be provided to FUP families upon lease-up
  • Write and sign a detailed Memorandum of Understanding
frequently asked questions
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What if a family has a criminal record, history of drug and alcohol abuse, or owes money to the PHA?
  • Can a family’s voucher be taken away if they fail to comply with FUP?
  • What records are we supposed to keep?
  • Why do CWAs close cases so soon after families move in to their permanent housing?
what s on the policy front housing and child welfare
What’s on the Policy Front Housing and Child Welfare?
  • FUP Press Conference(s) to raise awareness, recognize FUP champions, families, and youth
  • Convene HHS and HUD to raise Children’s Bureau participation in housing options for child welfare
  • Fostering Connections implementation (of housing provisions)
  • Reintroduction of A Place to Call Home Act
  • Ensure that CAPTA reauthorization includes housing
  • Increase SSFP funding and argue for federal child welfare funding flexibility.
  • Ensure that SSFP is including in a second stimulus package
  • HEARTH Act implementation.
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