Promoting Positive Parenting in the Context of Homelessness


  • This article was prepared for and reviewed by the American Orthopsychiatric Association Task Force on Family Homelessness.

  • The authors thank the members of the APA Interdivisional Task Force on Supporting Positive Parenting in the Context of Homelessness for their thoughtful feedback, with special thanks extended to BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Karen Hudson, and Joe Willard.

concerning this article should be addressed to Staci Perlman, Kutztown University, Social Work, Old Main Room 24, Kutztown, PA 19530. Electronic mail may be sent to


Recent national reports suggest that nearly 1,000,000 families with children experience homelessness and that this number is rising (National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009; U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2010; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2011). Families experiencing homelessness are disproportionately more likely to have experienced economic, health, and social risk factors. These experiences can adversely influence the parent–child relationship. The purpose of this article is to (a) review the literature on the determinants and contextual issues of parenting in shelters; (b) describe specific programs that are focused on positive parenting in the context of homelessness; and (c) provide practice, research, and policy recommendations for supporting positive parenting among families living without homes.