AUBURN, AL (WTVM) – According to the national center on family homelessness, 2.5 million children in America go to sleep without a home of their own each year.
In the latest federal and state data, state rankings are determined by a composite score of four domains, including extent of child homelessness, child well-being, risk for child homelessness and state policy and planning efforts
In a national report that looks at the number of homeless children in each state, Alabama is considered the worst of all ranking 50th, with 59,349 homeless children in 2012-2013. A large increase compared to 37,816 in 2010-2011.
Major causes of homelessness include the nation's high poverty rate, lack of affordable housing across the nation, continuing impacts of the great recession, racial disparities, and challenges of single parenting and impact of traumatic experiences, especially domestic violence.
Compared to children with homes, homeless children are hungry and sick more often, they stress more about family well-being, they struggle academically, miss school, repeat grades or drop out.
25% of homeless pre-school children and 40% of homeless school age children have mental health problems requiring clinical.
The study also found that not having a home, especially for young children, can negatively impact brain development in terms of learning, emotional self-regulation, cognitive skills, and social relationships.