CASA of Adams Broomfield

Accessibility Tools

Youth & Families Experiencing Homelessness

Poverty and homelessness are major risk factors for a families entry into dependency and neglect proceedings. Many of our cases at CASA of Adams and Broomfield counties will include conditions of poverty and/or homelessness. Nationally, 550,000 youth are homeless in the united states, of those 380,000 were less than 18 and 170,000 were 18-24 years old1.

It's important for a CASA to maintain their perspective when assisting children who experience poverty and homelessness. The law does not explicitly outline homelessness or poverty as injurious conditions, meaning that simply being poor or homeless does not mean that ones children need to be removed. That being said poverty and homelessness may contribute to injurious conditions that would require removal. For example if a parent cannot pay for formula for their child they may inadequately feed their child; or if a family is homeless they may not have any other option but to sleep in their vehicle during cold winter conditions. Poverty is incredibly common for many people; in the united states 1 in 5 children live below the poverty line and almost half of all children live in households that struggle financially2.

Sometimes youth who age out of the foster care system will also encounter housing instability. According to one study3 20,000 children age out of the foster system annually and of those 25% will not have housing immediately upon exit. Youth who are homeless and/or poor also come from a diverse set of backgrounds; 1 in 5 youth who are homeless identify as LGBT+1. Poverty and homelessness also disproportionately affect women and people of color.

One respite for families and youth experiencing homelessness is the McKinney-Vento Act. McKinney-Vento guarantees the right of a child to attend the school they attended before losing housing or allows the family/child to select a school closest to their shelter or other accommadation4. The act also outlines the responsibility of the school district to transport the child to and from school, this may take the form of a school bus or public bus tickets explicitly for the purpose of school transportation4. Another helpful resource is the Family Unification Program (FUP). FUP specifically helps families involved in dependency and neglect proceedings to obtain housing, youth ageing out of foster care can also use this program5. Contact your local housing authority for more information.

1The National Alliance to End Homelessness 2014


3Folman, R. & Anderson, G. (n.d.). Troubled water: Foster care youth and college. Retrieved National Center for Homeless Education • 17 May 28, 2007, from the Michigan State University, School of Social Work website: http://




Resources - 

Adams County Housing Authority, Long Term Housing Programs


McKinney-Vento Liaisons (Public School Resources for Homeless Students and Families including bus tickets and shelter referrals)

Westminster Public Schools

Jamie B. Skaronea


Aurora Public Schools

Amy J. Beruan

303-326-2000 Ext. 28474

Adams 12 Public Schools

Students and families in the Adams 12 Five Star School District in need of community resources and/or homeless assistance may contact the Adams 12 Student and Family Outreach Program at 720-972-6015 or visit the Adams 12 website

If you don't see your district listed simply go to the school administrators and ask to speak with a McKinney-Vento Liaison.


Emergency Shelters (Remember, shelters fill up, so call early in the day and well before the day you need shelter) -

Family Tree

3805 Marshall St, #201 Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

Phone 303-467-2604

Fax 303-422-4928

Urban Peak (Unaccompanied youth 15-20 years old only)

1630 S Acoma st. Denver CO 80223

Phone 303-974-2900

Samaritan House

2301 Lawrence Street Denver CO 80205

Phone 303-294-0241

Comitis Crisis Center

2178 Victor St. Aurora CO 80045

Phone 303-341-9160


Further Reading - 

Child Poverty and Adult Success

By Dr. Caroline Ratcliffe Low-Income Working Families Initiative


Homeless Children and Youth

By Child Trends a nonprofit organization


Unaccompanied Youth Fast Facts

By national Network for Youth a nonprofit organization


Homelessness Among Youth

By United States Interagency Council on Homelessness


Effects of Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness on Children and Youth

By the American Psychological Association


Housing and Child Welfare

By the Child Welfare Information Gateway provided by the Children's Bureau, the Administration for Children and Families, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Child Welfare Involvement Among Children in Homeless Families

By Drs. J.M. Park, S. Metraux, G Brodbar, D. P. Culhane University of Pennsylvania Scholarly Commons


Families at the Nexus of Housing and Child Welfare

By Dr. Amy Dworsky State Policy, Advocacy and Reform Center


Supportive Housing for Homeless Families: Foster Care Outcomes and Best Practices

By Dr. Sonja Lenz-Rashid Cottage Housing Incorporated