Method: We drew upon family surveys conducted 54 months after randomization for families in the treatment and control groups at each site. Prior to COVID, families were interviewed in their homes or in a mutually agreed upon location; families interviewed after March 2020 were interviewed over the phone. Interviewers surveyed one family member, and surveys included questions on child health, behavior and school performance, as well as parenting.
Results: Receiving supportive housing appeared to have little impact on parenting 54 months after the intervention in terms of parental warmth, parenting stress/skills, and the use of corporal punishment and verbal aggression as parenting strategies. Somewhat concerningly, parents in the treatment group reported a marginally higher occurrence of displaying neglectful behaviors in the past 12 months, compared to children in families in the control group.
Impacts on children’s behavior and school level indicators varied by child age. Infants in treatment group families had significantly higher levels of inflexibility and irritability than infants in the control group, but toddlers in control group families had significantly higher problem behavior than toddlers in the treatment group. Older children (age 6-18) in the control group demonstrated higher levels of prosocial behavior, but also had higher absence rates than children in treatment group families. Children younger than school age in the control group were more likely than children in the treatment group to be enrolled in early education.
Conclusions and Implications: The mixed findings in regard to the long-term role of supportive housing for parent and child well-being require further investigation. In some cases, findings may be indicative of increased visibility and monitoring that treatment group families experienced, while others may be related to site-specific variation in services provided to the treatment group. Impacts on parents and children may fade out 4.5 years post-randomization, or may not be targeted enough to impact parenting behaviors and children’s socio-emotional development.