16 Pages

Mother/Child Interaction Among Homeless Women and Their Children in a Public Night Shelter in Atlanta, Georgia

Virtually every major urban center in America is experiencing a growing population of homeless people. A surprisingly large number of the homeless are women and their children. This chapter does not attempt to define homelessness, estimate its proportions, report its antecedents, or suggest public solutions. Rather the focus of this study is an exploration of the relationship between mothers and their children who find themselves in a most unusual circumstance. The study begins to elucidate the experience of these families as they interact in difficult circumstances. The authors believe that until the experience of this population is carefully explored and sen-

sitivcly understood, the programs and policies designed to serve this population wil l succeed at best by chance. The data chosen to facilitate an understanding of the relationship of these mothers and their children is individual experience. Programs for planned change and social policy assessment must include individual experience as a data source.