Issues in Family Policy

Title and Source

The title of the article under analysis is “Under New Policy for Homeless Families; Children Can Miss Less School.” The article source is “The New Yolk Times.”

Summary of the Article

Authored by Elizabeth A. Harris, she talks about the homeless families in New Yolk City and the implications of new policy on such households. The Homeless services department in the city is making changes in the policies aiming to reduce unnecessary disruptions that occur in a child brought up in homeless situations (Harris, 2016).

For shelter, homeless families depend on the Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH). The whole family must be present in the initial interview, and most of the applicants do not qualify due to lack of necessary documents. Additionally, the families have to document every placed lived in the last two years (Harris, 2016). Most of the families make repeated journeys to the PATH after rejection due to lack of such documents.

Policy Implications for Families

Under the new rules, however, children will not go back to PATH when their parents reapply if the parents have applied for shelter in the last 30 days. In essence, this is helpful as 47% of the families who apply and fail to meet the cutoff requirements end up reapplying in less than 30 days (Harris, 2016). As stipulated by Steven Banks, who is the commissioner of the department of social services, they are working to eliminate all obstacles that hinder children’s attendance at school.

Schooling while homeless can sometimes is devastation. Statistics show that 40% of the homeless children missed at least one month of schooling in the year 2014-2015 (Harris, 2016). Also, children with stable housing but were homeless in the past perform poorly. With such statistics, it is significant to make sure these children have more time in the classroom.

Every society exists around many families. A family is a building block in society, and when these components fall, the whole society is weak. Without a doubt, this is the primary reason there are policies to govern families. Without the families, there is no society. Public policies must be sufficient to make sure that families can perform their tasks in the community (Bogenschneider, 2014). The family policies seek to create and maintain functional families in the society. A good example is the policy changes in New York as stipulated in the article. The city’s objective is to make life easier for the children to be able to attend school and be productive in the future. Children are the families of tomorrow, and if not mentored at an early age, the family cycle of homelessness may never end.

There are many programs in the United States meant to help the families all of which are a result of policy changes. Programs such as Medicaid, health insurance for children and Supplemental Nutrition all have one aim of helping the families. Families, however, must adopt these policies for them to be effective. If the families think a policy is not any helpful, there will be problems with its implementations (Jenson, 2013). One cannot implement a policy to people who do not need it. Take for example the idea of privatizing the social security. The aim of such a policy would be to allow an individual to invest and make money. The problem is that a homeless family living in a shelter somewhere will not be able to invest. The policy will only benefit those with the capability to invest. A policy should help all in the society.

In any governable state, policy makers should consider the family first in policymaking. Families make up a society, and societies make up a state. In this sense, a family is the smallest unit of a state. It would then be agreeable that the first interest of policy should be the family. Over the years, different factions have repeatedly misused the American value of individualism. Individualism is a belief that each person is unique which is correct. However, the individual paradigm is all over the implementation of policies in America.

Own Reaction

Most of the policy makers consider the economic impacts of a policy rather than the impacts to the families. It would be helpful if the economic impacts are integrated into upgrading the life of the families but this is not the case. Such policies benefit the society elites who have the power. Family welfare is an aspect of the economy but its consideration in policymaking is rare (Bogenschneider, 2014). Considering thus argument, policy makers make policies that strengthen individual family needs and not universal family needs. Such a policy will not enhance or support the needy families.

The city of New York as per the article is doing great by considering the life of the homeless children. They are the leaders and policy makers of tomorrow, and they need the support now. Segregating them as children only increases the economic problems. They will grow up homeless and have more homeless children, thus aggravating the problem (Greenhaus, Ziegert & Allen, 2012). Many such policies that support the family’s needs to be implemented to safeguard the plight of homeless children who should have equal access to national resources as their counterparts who have a place to reside and live in peace.



Bogenschneider, K. (2014). Family Policy Matters: How Policymaking Affects Families and What Professionals Can Do (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Greenhaus, J. H., Ziegert, J. C., & Allen, T. D. (2012). When family-supportive supervision matters: Relations between multiple sources of support and work–family balance. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80(2), 266-275.

Harris, E. A. (2016, September 01). Under New Policy for Homeless Families, Children Can Miss Less School. Retrieved September 14, 2016, from and Family Life&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=collection&_r=0&referer=

Jenson, J. (2013). Against the Current: Child Care and Family Policy inQuebec. Child care policy at the crossroads: Gender and welfare state restructuring, 309.


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