Exits from homelessness
for children who have experienced toxic violence, trauma and abuse are pathways
we must create and nurture as a community and nation.
Welcome to the Lesley University Child
Homelessness Initiative. Established by Lesley University in May 2011 with
support from alumna Laurie Schoen, the Child Homelessness in
Massachusetts Initiative (CHI) is designed to bring attention to the growing
number of children and families without adequate shelter in the Commonwealth
and throughout the nation. According to the Urban Institute, in the United
States, “on any given day over 200,000 children are homeless.” One child in
fifty in the United States is likely to experience chronic or episodic
homelessness before reaching age six. Of the children most likely to experience
homelessness, twenty-five percent have suffered from physical abuse and
neglect. In Massachusetts upwards of 20,000 to 50,000 children experienced
homelessness in 2010, the latest year for which there is government data.
The mission of the CHI is to prepare Lesley
University graduates---next-generation teachers, policy advocates, therapists
and child care providers--with a trauma-informed asset model that enables
practices and policies consistent with maximizing infant and toddler health,
happiness and well-being, securing their protection from injury and insult, and
advancing their educational opportunities and citizenship.
backbone of our mission is the development of a powerful curriculum and the
guidance and compassion of faculty who are responsible for teaching the next
generation of child advocates, teachers, therapists and scientists. We refer
to this curriculum as a trauma-informed child asset and advocacy program. This
program (1) examines the relationship between child homelessness and trauma and
the vulnerability chronic trauma and homelessness create, (2) advances an
understanding of the developing brain of traumatized infants and toddlers, (3)
offers curriculum in which resiliency and functional adaptations to
vulnerability can be learned and internalized by children, parents, social
service and child care providers and educators, and (4) builds policy advocacy
skills to both address systemic determinants of child homelessness and pathways
to advance the life chances of infants, toddlers and their families. This
curriculum engages students, faculty, and a network of service providers and
teachers in real-world learning and problem-solving.
A national conversation is held annually to examine
strategies to reduce child homelessness in Massachusetts.
learning in real-world contexts Lesley University students learn first-hand the
impacts of homelessness on children and families. In addition to taking the
cornerstone Child Homelessness course, and courses in child studies,
neuroscience, human services and education, students are placed in social
service agencies throughout the area, where they observe children, and examine
child care and shelter practices, with an eye toward both stamping out
homelessness and ameliorating its impacts on the most vulnerable victims.
Please join the Child Homelessness conversation!
Dean of Faculty, Associate Professor
Diana C. Direiter
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Certificate Program: Child Homelessness Studies
Tuition and Fees
Dual Degree Programs
Credit Toward Graduate Education - Lesley Dividend
Foreign Language Studies
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Oxford Street Players Theatre Group
The Child Homelessness Initiative
E-newsletter: News from 29 Mellen
"I'm so hopeful...that there really is a way to have a long-term impact on changing what these kids have gone through and really having the ability to just open up the possibilities for them."
- Laurie Schoen