The provisions of evidence-based interventions and assessments to address the special needs of children and families who experience homelessness not only improves parent-child relationships, but also reduces trauma and the impact of adverse childhood experiences. Along with their high special needs, children and families who experience homelessness experience compound stress, which has negative impacts on their wellbeing– making it all the more imperative to provide early intervention. Lotus House Women’s Shelter, the largest women’s shelter in the state of Florida, along with its research partners, conducted a community-based, service driven research project with sheltered families experiencing homelessness. The objective was to: document externalizing behavior problems (EBP), trauma symptoms and developmental status of children experiencing homelessness; and explore the effectiveness of Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) and Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), two evidence based therapeutic interventions, on a vulnerable population of sheltered children and families. The results demonstrated high rates of externalizing behavior problems, trauma symptoms and developmental delays among the children. Both therapeutic interventions were found to be effective treatments, with both interventions targeting and providing different outcomes. To see a more detailed review on a community-based service driven project performed at a women’s shelter and the effectiveness of evidence based interventions on families who experience homelessness, please visit
CITATION: Graziano, Ph.D, P. A., Spiegel, Ph.D, J. A., Arcia, E., & Sundari Foundation, Inc. (n.d.). Early Assessment and Intervention for Families Experiencing Homelessness: A randomized trial comparing two parenting programs. Lotus House. https://lotushouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2020.12.07.20245563v1.full_.pdf.
Experiencing homelessness can have adverse effects on children including: developmental, social, and emotional delays; behavioral and mental health issues; and strained mother-child relationships. As such, the Lotus House Women’s Shelter, the largest women’s shelter in the state of Florida, provides trauma-informed, therapeutic early care and education services as part of its Therapeutic Mother-Child Program. Services such as child and parent therapy have been implemented in the program to improve child mental health, increase the current understanding of the status of mothers and children experiencing homelessness, and evaluate the effectiveness of the services provided. The Year III report details three years of data collection on issues related to program implementation, program non-completers, staff attrition, and the focus on program implementation in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and on maternal stress. This report touches on the program description, evaluation and continuous improvement of the program and results of the provision of therapeutic services. To learn more about the implementation, validity, and effectiveness of the Therapeutic Mother-Child Program, please visit https://lotushouse.org/childrenfirst/.
When working with children and families experiencing homelessness, service providers should choose evidence-based approaches to ensure the best possible results. To adopt the best available evidence-based program (EBP), the following requirements must be met: (a) evaluation research shows that the program produces the expected positive results; (b) the results can be attributed to the program itself, rather than to other extraneous factors or events; (c) the evaluation is peer reviewed by experts in the field; and (d) the program is “endorsed” by a federal agency or respected research organization and included in their list of effective programs. Despite the benefits of EBPs when adopted with families who experience homelessness, challenges may arise when implemented due to lack of evidence-based models; expense; and fidelity to a model. To learn more about the implementation of EBPs, please visit https://www.air.org/sites/default/files/December%202011%20-%20Using%20Evidence-Based%20Programs%20to%20Support%20Children%20and%20Families%20Experiencing%20Homelessness.pdf
CITATION: Seibel, Nancy. “Using Evidence-Based Programs to Support Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness .” Strengthening At Risk Homeless Young Mothers and Children. The National Center on Family Homelessness, November 2011. https://www.air.org/sites/default/files/December%202011%20-%20Using%20Evidence-Based%20Programs%20to%20Support%20Children%20and%20Families%20Experiencing%20Homelessness.pdf.
Lotus House, the largest women’s shelter in the state of Florida, performed a literature review using a racial, equity, diversity and inclusion lens (REDI) to determine the optimal assessments and interventions to implement in its Early Childhood Development Research Project. To support utilization with marginalized mothers and children experiencing homelessness from ethnically and racially diverse backgrounds, the literature review determined the cultural competence (and appropriateness) of evidence-based therapeutic interventions and assessments. Acknowledging the dearth of literature supporting use in a homeless shelter setting, Lotus House has chosen to implement these assessments and interventions within its demographically diverse shelter, with the ultimate goal of using the information gathered to advance the status and needs of sheltered families. To learn more about the cultural competence of the selected therapeutic interventions and assessments please visit https://lotushouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/WSN-Exchange-REDI-Lens-Research.pdf
CITATION: Lotus House Women’s Shelter. (n.d.). A Literature Review of Therapeutic Interventions and Assessments with a REDI Lens. Research Innovation. Putting Children First. . https://lotushouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/WSN-Exchange-REDI-Lens-Research.pdf.