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Visible Child Work Group Report

The 2012 Minnesota State Legislature established the Visible Child Work Group (VCWG) to identify and recommend issues to be addressed in a statewide plan to improve the well-being of children who are homeless or have experienced homelessness.  The VCWG final report provides a solid foundation for our state to develop a comprehensive plan to improve the well-being of homeless and formerly homeless children. Click here

Working Doesn't Always Pay for a Home

Even a full-time job doesn't guarantee access to a home that is affordable.
Working Doesn't Always Pay for a Home llustrates how a shortage of affordable housing impacts working families.

Children's HealthWatch

Lack of secure housing can contribute to poor health outcomes and delays in development. Read
Children's HealthWatch Policy Action Brief for results of recent research.   

Visible Child Training
Tue Oct 28 @ 9:00AM - 11:00AM
Conversations on Chemical Health
Wed Nov 19 @ 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Visible Child Training
Tue Nov 25 @ 9:00AM - 11:00AM

Connect with websites that can build your knowledge and support your work.

Minnesota Parents Know
Parenting information to parents about children newborn to adolescent.

Minnesota Parents Know/Help Me Grow
Referral program available to parents and providers who have a concern about  a child’s development.

Zero to Three
Informs, trains, and supports professionals, policymakers, and parents in their efforts to improve the lives of infants and toddlers.

Safe Start Center
Broaden the knowledge of and promote community investment in evidence-based strategies for reducing the impact of children's exposure to violence.

YouthLink                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Creates relationships with youth and the community, creating future opportunities of empowerment, self-sufficiency, and connectedness.

Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness
Research on family homelessness, data and ideas that will inform and enhance public policy on serving homeless families

About Us
The Visible Child Initiative

Public policy and service strategies developed over the past 25 years to address homelessness grew out of concern for a growing population of homeless adults. As our nation has recognized the increase in the number of homeless families, the adults in the household remain the primary focus, leaving children who are also traumatized by the conditions associated with homelessness often invisible.

In 2005, the Supportive Housing Provider Group, a group of 17 supportive housing organizations, and the Family Supportive Housing Center, LLC (a subsidiary of the Family Housing Fund, see www.fhfund.org) partnered with Dr. Abigail Gewirtz, a clinical psychologist and University of Minnesota researcher, on an assessment of the needs of 450 children living in supportive housing. The assessment revealed that risk factors for children living in supportive housing significantly escalated with age. In addition, the assessment identified a surprising lack of data on the needs of young children newborn to 4 years old. (See Psychosocial Status of Homeless Children in Supportive Housing under the Research and Discovery Tab).

The realities seen by the supportive housing providers, combined with knowledge gained from the 2005 assessment, led to the creation of The Visible Child Initiative. The Visible Child Initiative brings together research, practice, public policy, and community to elevate the needs of children who have experienced homelessness. The vision of The Visible Child Initiative is to implement a multi-faceted campaign to elevate an understanding of the needs and status of children who have experienced homelessness. The Visible Child Initiative will focus its resources to minimize the impact of homelessness by bridging research knowledge with strategic practice, policy, and community support for the healthy development of children who have experienced homelessness. Through a family-centered approach (see Family-Centered Supportive Housing under the Research and Discovery tab), we are committed to mitigating the potential for generational homelessness that happens when homeless children grow up to head our community’s future families.

Supportive housing offers an opportunity to leverage community resources to lessen the traumatic effects of homelessness and invest in children’s healthy development. The Visible Child will insure that support service staff in shelter and supportive housing have the best evidence-based research knowledge and tools available to support the social and emotional needs of children and influence positive parenting practices.

To learn more about The Visible Child Initiative, contact Sharon Henry-Blythe at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (612) 375-9644 ext. 19.