Youth homelessness: an exploration into the desire for family reunification
Therrien, Riley R.
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With family conflict serving as the predominant underlying factor that leads to youth homelessness, family has often been framed as “the problem.” As such, many youth services have ignored the role of family as potential solutions to youth homelessness, despite a growing body of literature suggesting family connectedness holds strong currency for youth. In a sample of 34 youth experiencing homelessness, interviews were conducted to explore the extent to which youth have desire for family reunification, and to examine how differences in length of homelessness impact youth’s family-life trajectories. The results indicate that most youth desire to reconnect with their families, and that youth who have experienced homelessness for a comparatively short time (under 1 year) have more supportive familial relations than do youth who have experienced a moderate (1-2 years) or long (over 2 years) time homeless. Optimism for family reunification tends to wane the longer one experiences homelessness.