Abstract: An Exploration of CIS Interventions and Their Impact on Homeless Middle School Students (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

178P An Exploration of CIS Interventions and Their Impact on Homeless Middle School Students

Friday, January 18, 2019
Continental Parlors 1-3, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Katie Tudor, MSW, student, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX
Background and Purpose: Homeless students face many barriers in their time of schooling. Literature suggests that school-based interventions have focused more on basic need services rather than interventions aimed to address challenges students face in school. Communities in Schools (CIS) is a dropout prevention program that aims to increase the likelihood of students staying in school by providing interventions that target students’ academic performances, absences, tardies, and behavioral concerns. Although the target areas utilize different interventions, all the interventions require goal setting and are incentive-based. The purpose of this study is to explore the effects CIS’s interventions directly have on case-managed homeless students in four middle schools located at a school district in Texas.

Methods: This study utilized a one-group pretest-posttest design with administrative data from the 2016-2017 school year for all four of the local middle schools. CIS case managers from each school identified students who demonstrated challenges in one of the four areas, collected pretest data, provided targeted interventions, and collected posttest data after the school year ended. In order to address the limitation of not having a control group available, data for this convenient sample of homeless case-managed students (n=62) was compared to that for their non-homeless case-managed counterparts (n=62). This comparison would allow for an understanding of whether the effect of this intervention would be different depending on the homeless condition. Because each intervention was provided for the targeted students, the sample size for the intervention varied.

Results: Paired t-tests were conducted and found both homeless and non-homeless students had academic improvements after the academic intervention had been implemented. An ANCOVA analysis indicated the change after the intervention was not different between the homeless group and the non-homeless group. The improvement from the absence, tardy, and behavior interventions was not statistically significant for either of the groups, which can be attributed to the small sample size of each test.

Conclusion and Implications: The findings suggest CIS addresses barriers in school similarly for both their case-managed homeless students and non-homeless students . While homeless students did not benefit more from the interventions than their non-homeless counterparts, it should be noted that their academic performance still improved. It could be argued that homeless students improved after the interventions because the schools also provided interventions to address basic needs. Therefore, the outcome for homeless students should be considered a combined effect of both interventions. Due to the limitations of this study, it is not certain which intervention caused each change. Implications from this study include the continual need for services in schools, the beneficial impact of community programs for homeless youth, and a need for further studies that focus on this subject.