Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Homeless mothers, Homeless children-Education, Education-Parent participation, Mother and child, Shelters for the homeless, Qualitative research, Homelessness, Youth, Education, Parenting, Mother, Homeless, Shelter


This qualitative exploratory study examines the experience of mothers that are homeless with school-age children. The primary research questions were: What is the level of parental involvement of homeless mothers in their children's education? What are the perceived barriers to their involvement? The study was conducted using semi-structured open-ended interviews of eight women that were homeless with at least one school-age child. Study results indicated that level of parental involvement varied depending on the specific temporary living situation of the participant, in addition to her demographics and history of homelessness. Parental involvement was low not due to perceived stigma but mainly due to lack of time and resources. The study sheds light on various housing resources, such as transitional housing and homeless shelters, and points out that transitional housing programs could be more beneficial to children's educations if they allowed the mother more time for involvement and provided more academic resources for the child. In addition, the main challenges of living in a shelter are discussed, such as lack of space to do homework and barriers to adequate sleep.




iv, 73 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 63-65)