Publication Date



Safe and stable housing is essential to support healthy child development and promote strong families. Children thrive in secure, stimulating environments, but far too many are exposed to precarious or unsafe housing conditions that threaten their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Nearly 40% of the homeless population is comprised of families with children, and many more experience inadequate housing conditions such as overcrowding, household chaos, frequent moves, and poor housing quality. This brief discusses the developmental consequences of housing instability and reviews available resources in homeless services, public housing services, and the child welfare system. It also identifies gaps in screening practices, service provision, and systems coordination. The authors offer several recommendations for reducing housing instability and promoting child well-being.

Document Type

Research Brief


Thriving Communities


Inclusive Housing

Original Citation

Marcal, K., & Fowler, P. J. (2015, September). Housing and child well-being (CSD Research Brief No. 15-40). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


Housing and Well-Being


child-welfare system, well-being, family, Family Unification Program, housing, homelessness, inclusive housing, neighborhood, public housing, social services, voucher, housing and well-being