The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) has published a research note that examines the healthcare needs of homeless children and young people as well as interventions and practices that facilitate homeless children and young people’s access to healthcare services.
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The research note draws on evidence from over 30 academic studies, to inform policymakers and other stakeholders about the merits and limitations of interventions aimed at improving access to healthcare services for homeless children and young people.
Homeless population across Europe shifting towards a greater share of families
The demographic make-up of the homeless population across Europe seems to be shifting towards a greater share of families, children and young people. Aside from the challenge of being deprived of one of the basic human rights, the right to housing (Article 25, Universal Declaration of Human Rights), homelessness (including among young people) is also associated with healthcare challenges.
Homeless children and young people health at higher risk
Evidence suggests that homeless children and young people have a higher risk of both physical and mental health issues compared to those who benefit from stable housing, with mental health being a particular issue of concern for homeless children and young people.
Evidence also shows that homeless children and young people may need to overcome practical issues, personal perceptions of healthcare, institutional barriers or perceived stigma and judgement when trying to access healthcare.
The study suggests that the literature is lacking evaluations of interventions in Europe to support homeless children and young people to access the healthcare they need.
However, the reported evidence on the interventions that were identified was largely positive, and the interventions enabled homeless children and young people to access healthcare services.
The research note provides examples of facilitators of the interventions supporting access to healthcare services for homeless children and young people, as well as some of the challenges faced during the implementation of the interventions.
EPIC supports Member States to invest in children
This research note is part of a series of research notes developed by EPIC, each focusing on a particular area that is of interest to the proposed European Child Guarantee.
EPIC also produces a series of short policy memos focusing on topics relevant to child welfare aimed at policymakers, researchers and practitioners.
Previous research notes have focused on children and mental health and anti-bullying practices, while previous policy memos have focused on sexuality education and inclusion in early childhood education and care (ECEC).
As well as publications, the EPIC website includes a wide range of content focused on supporting child wellbeing. Regularly updated country profiles provide an overview of measures taken in each Member State to support investment in children and we maintain a broad collection of innovative and evidence-based practices.