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Health Outcomes for Young Children with Families Who Have Experienced Eviction

September 26, 2022

In my practice, it is not uncommon for us to see families who have been evicted from their homes.

Indeed, according to an article by Dr. Diana Cutts from Hennepin County Medical Center and colleagues at 6 other institutions, entitled, “Eviction and Household Health and Hardships in Families with Very Young Children,” which is being early released by Pediatrics (10.1542/peds.2022-056692), almost 2 million US families are evicted every year.

Families with children are more likely to be evicted than those without children.

Dr. Cutts and her colleagues studied health-related outcomes in infants and toddlers that are associated with eviction by conducting surveys and reviewing medical records for more than 26,000 children over 8 years in 6 pediatric emergency departments or primary care clinics in Arkansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.

Nearly 4% of families reported an eviction in the past 5 years. There is more information in this article that we can cover in this blog (so read the entire article!), but here are some of the results:

  • Children whose families have experienced eviction are more likely to be in fair or poor health, at developmental risk, and to have been admitted to the hospital from the emergency department.
  • Caregivers in families who have experienced eviction are more likely to be in fair or poor health and to have symptoms of depression.
  • Families who have experienced eviction are more likely to experience multiple material hardships, including food insecurity, energy insecurity, and health care insecurity.

These results are sobering. There is, of course, this “chicken or egg” question – does household eviction increase one’s risk of being in fair or poor health or at developmental risk, or do these health measures make one at higher risk for being evicted?

There is so much to take away from this article. There are multiple opportunities to work at the local community or state level to develop strategies that can decrease the rate of evictions in your community. Additionally, when you encounter a family who has experienced eviction, be aware that, not only is assistance from social work, medical-legal partners, and similar resources likely needed, but there may need to be subspecialty involvement for chronic medical and developmental conditions.

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