We wanted to do something about child homelessness. To not only raise awareness, but also prepare students who seek to work with children or families.

The next generation of childcare providers, teachers, counselors, and advocates will need specific knowledge and skills to work with the nation's most vulnerable children. And the need for effective interventionists across different fields couldn't be greater. That’s why we developed our holistic Child Homelessness Studies curriculum—so that our education, counseling, and human services students will graduate ready to make a meaningful impact.

1 in 30
children in the U.S. experienced homelessness in 2014
2011
year the initiative was founded, with support from Laurie Schoen ’86 and Victoria Whalen
25% increase
in the number of Massachusetts’ homeless children in 2015

Creating the Curriculum

Taught by a team of cross-disciplinary faculty, our rigorous Child Homelessness Studies curriculum delves into the origins and nature of homelessness. Students explore child development, trauma and crisis, and resiliency. In addition to classes, internships in local social service agencies provide opportunities to observe children and examine childcare and shelter practices. It’s how our students learn first-hand the impact homelessness has on children and families.

The curriculum consists of five undergraduate courses, each building knowledge and techniques used when working with, or on behalf of, homeless children and their families. Completing all five courses leads to a Certificate in Child Homelessness Studies.

This certificate opens doors to employment in settings that address child homelessness, and for work with children across settings where child homelessness might otherwise go unrecognized.

"I'm hopeful that there’s a way to have a long-term impact on changing what these children have gone through, and to open up new possibilities for them."
Laurie Schoen ’86, Schoen Family Foundation, Lesley University alum

Raising Public Awareness

Our goal is to bring attention to the growing number of children and families without adequate shelter, both locally and nationally. In addition to developing and teaching the initiative’s curriculum, participating faculty lead conversations about this issue, on and off campus.

We've partnered with The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital to fight child homelessness. Through the Center, we've created a series of blog posts and podcasts on the issue.

Developing a Mission-Driven Network

We’re working to develop more courses, and to foster additional partnerships with organizations in Massachusetts. Our goal is to create a network of like-minded, mission-driven organizations so that together, we can reach parents and caregivers operating in shelters and other settings, and deal with the problem of child homelessness.

Participating Faculty, Staff, & Alumni