America’s Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness

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National Center on Family Homelessness

In the midst of an economic crisis that is forcing adults to deal with job layoffs and home foreclosures, a new report highlights the struggle of an even more vulnerable group: America's homeless children. 

Compiled by the National Center on Family Homelessness, this report shows that between 2005 and 2006, more than 1.5 million children up to age 18 and accompanied by at least one adult were homeless - a figure that includes families forced to live in others' homes but does not include runaway children. 

The report, an update of the center's 1999 study, shows child homelessness is worsening and is concentrated mostly in 10 states. All 50 states are ranked, based on the rates of child homelessness, child well-being, risk for child homelessness and state policy and planning efforts, with Texas, Georgia and Arkansas receiving the three worst overall scores and Connecticut, New Hampshire and Hawaii receiving the three best.

Homeless children's health risks are also broken down, including physical problems like asthma and lack of dental care and mental disorders resulting from exposure to violence.

The report provides the Obama administration with policy recommendations, such as spending $10 billion to rehabilitate or build 100,000 green-standard rental homes for the lowest-income individuals and spending $210 million to ensure every homeless child can attend school and receive all necessary services.

Researchers collected data from 12,550 local education agencies. Free, 220 pages. (617) 964-3834, www.fassino .com/rc_full_report.pdf.