An Evaluation of the Psychosocial Benefits for Children Experiencing Homelessness Arising from the Introduction of an Integrated Community Care Project Across the City of Cork
Date of Award
Master of Arts (Research)
Applied Social Studies
Dr Tom O'Connor
Dr Judith Butler
The purpose of the research is to evaluate an intervention within a new model of family support being delivered in Cork City, on addressing child and family homelessness. This new model is being delivered for the first time in Ireland during ‘Youth Club’ and strives to act as an intervention to assist children experiencing homelessness. The model was first developed by Tusla Springboard Child and Family service and Good Shepherd Services Cork in 2016 in response to the alarming rise in child and family homelessness in Cork city, and the resulting impact of same. The research investigates the model and whether it can be judged a benchmark for child and family homelessness work in Cork city, making suggestions for improvement, if necessary, and where appropriate. The research endeavours to evaluate and measure the significant psychosocial benefits for children impacted by homelessness who engage with the model. The observation study on the model delivered during ‘Youth Club’ indicates that the environment is trauma sensitive, and the key workers are trauma aware ensuring that the needs of the children attending are met in a caring and responsive manner. This child-centred, child-led, and playful approach is rooted in relationships that welcome and honour every child’s lived experience and story (Butler et al., 2022). Moreover, this integrated model helps to establish a team around the child (Siraj-Blatchford et al., 2007) and reflects the spirit of shared responsibility and communal effort. The study findings concur with existing research (Blackman 2002) which has shown how family support and coordinated community involvement are the key to success with intervention for children. This model adopts a bio-ecological systems model of integrated working and operates Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) principle of multi-person systems of interaction. The pivotal points from the primary research very much identify clearly the social and psychological risks of homelessness to children. To coincide with this there is strong evidence of the positive impact that the integrated homeless service model has on the lives of families and children. With a view to policy implications there is a strong transferability of the current integrated service homeless model to other care programmes attempting enhanced integrated care within primary care networks. This evaluation is qualitative in nature and includes focus groups with key stakeholders including service users. Fundamentally, this qualitative approach provides in depth data obtained that allowed the participants to elaborate on their lived experience. Essentially, a deeper and wider exploration of this model, which is still in its infancy and as a result warrants and deserves more critical evaluation but in its present format certainly assists children impacted by homelessness in a holistic manner.
O' Callaghan, Traolach, "An Evaluation of the Psychosocial Benefits for Children Experiencing Homelessness Arising from the Introduction of an Integrated Community Care Project Across the City of Cork" (2023). Theses [online].
Available at: https://sword.cit.ie/allthe/543
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