• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

The process of developing teacher-homeless student attachment relationships: A grounded theory study

Dissertation
Author: Tara A. Quinn-Schuldt
Abstract:
Homeless children and youth are a population on the rise (Berck, 1992; National Center for Homeless Education, 2008). Recent studies report a staggering 1.3 million homeless children and 3.8 million homeless families living in the United States (Institute of Children and Poverty, 2009; National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2005). This growth has been attributed to factors such as lack of affordable housing and poverty, as well as the more recent increase in unemployment and housing foreclosures (Duffield, 2001; Erienbusch, O'Conner, Downing, & Watlov Phillips, 2008; Institute on Children and Poverty, 2009; Knowlton, 2006). Homeless children and their families are particularly vulnerable given their lack of consistent and adequate housing, high levels of mobility, barriers to education and medical coverage, poor physical and psychological health and increased incidences of substance abuse and victimization (Duffield, 2001; Rafferty & Shinn, 1991; Toro, Dworsky, & Fowler, 2007; Wood, Valdez, Hayashi & Shen, 1990). For homless children, life is a series of transitions and the school environment is the most or only stable component of the homeless student's life (Knowlton, 2006). This study, therefore, examines the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship in an effort to generate a theory surrounding the key dimensions of these relationships. In order to better explore the plight of homeless children and youth, this study also briefly reviews the relevant literature surrounding homelessness, the role played by teachers in educating homeless students and the impacts of federal legislation such as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. In addition, Bowlby's attachment theory is examined as a means for further understanding the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship. A focus group and in-depth interviews of public school teachers will be conducted in an effort to develop a comprehensive grounded theory of the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship.

vii Table of Contents Dedication v Acknowledgments vi List of Tables x List of Figures xi CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 1 Introduction to the Problem 1 Background of the Study 2 Statement of the Problem 5 Purpose of the Study 6 Rationale 7 Research Questions 7 Significance of the Study 8 Definition of Terms 11 Assumptions 15 Nature of the Study (or Theoretical/Conceptual Framework) 16 Organization of the Remainder of the Study 16 CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 18 Introduction 18 How Many Youth and Child Are Homeless? 19 Defining Homeless Children and Youth 20 Realities of Child and Youth Homelessness 22 Research on Child and Youth Homelessness 31

viii

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act 32 Educational Setting 39 Role Played by Teachers 40 Attachment Theory 41 Teacher-Student Attachment Relationships 45 Teacher-Homeless Student Attachment Relationships: The Need for Further

Study 47

CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY 48 Purpose of the Study 48 Research Design 49 Rationale for Methodology 53 Target Population and Participant Selection 53 Rationale for Sample Size and Sampling Procedure 57 Instruments 58 Data Collection 64 Rationale for Data Collection Methods 66 Data Analysis 67 Strengths and Limitations of the Study 73 CHAPTER 4. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS 76 Introduction 76 Participant Demographics 77 Interview Process 80 Role of the Researcher 82

ix Transcription 84 Coding 85 Introduction of the Findings 95 Three Thematic Subcategories 96 Overview of Chapter 5 115

CHAPTER 5. RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 117 Introduction and Purpose of this Chapter 117 Summary of the Results 118 Discussion of the Results 119 The Process of Developing the Teacher-Homeless Student Attachment Relationship 120 Implications of Results for Existing Literature and Professional Field 128 Limitations 135 Recommendations for Future Study 138 Conclusion 141 REFERENCES 145

x List of Tables Table 1. Participant Demographics - Interview 78

Table 2. Participant Demographics – Focus Group 79

Table 3. “Beyond Educator” Category: Third Salient Theme for the Core Category of “Passion” 87 Table 4. “I See the Big Picture” Category: Third Salient Theme for the Core Category of “Passion” 88

Table 5. “Relating” Category: Third Salient Theme for the Core Category of “Passion” 90

xi List of Figures Figure 1. Summary of Findings 115

1 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION Introduction to the Problem Homeless children and youth are a population on the rise (Berck, 1992; National Center for Homeless Education, 2008). A 2005 report estimated the number of homeless children living in America to be 1.3 million (National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2005). Four years later, the Institute of Children and Poverty (2009) reported much more staggering results, citing 1.35 million children and youth with an additional 3.8 million homeless families residing in the U. S. In an effort to assist homeless children, families, and individuals, federal legislation titled the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, reauthorized in 2002, has been implemented. The McKinney-Vento Act addresses numerous issues regarding housing, healthcare, and the like. Possibly, the most influential provision of the law specifically geared toward homeless children youth surrounds the educational/public school component. Although the provisions outline the responsibilities of the educational system in meeting the academic needs of homeless students, attempting to remove barriers surrounding enrollment and transportation, identification of homeless students and addressing all of their needs continues to go unmet (Duffield, 2001). In an effort to better understand the educational plight of homeless children and youth, a review of the relevant literature surrounding homelessness, the role played by teachers in educating homeless students, the impacts surrounding the implementation of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as well as key theoretical aspects of attachment theory will be examined. Although such studies abound, there remains a lack

2 of in-depth exploration of the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship, including the process by which such relationships are developed and maintained. Additional exploration into the teachers’ perspectives of the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship may shed light on the role played by such relationships, as well as further the existing bodies of literature. Background of the Study Homelessness impacts the students’ educational experience in many ways including that of enrollment, attendance and academic success; the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act directly address such impacts, citing the necessary provisions to ensure the homeless students’ rights and the school system’s responsibilities (Duffield, 2001). Given the transient nature of homeless students/families, education tends to be disrupted in many ways. This disruption interferes with academic progress and fractures social peer bonds; hence, overall progress is upset. Although legal provisions have been put in place to assist homeless students, it is clear that barriers to education remain and continue to go unmet despite such efforts (Gargiulo, 2006). According to Hall (2007), the first step in helping homeless youth lies within improving the public school experience. In many instances the school environment is the most or only stable component of the homeless student’s life (Knowlton, 2006). Therefore, such stability within the educational environment may allow for the development of durable attachment relationships between teacher and student. Additional study and theory development surrounding the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship as an influencing factor in the lives of such a vulnerable population is greatly needed. Bowlby (1973) underscored the central role and long-

3 lasting influence of early attachment relationships between infant and caregiver. More contemporary studies have moved beyond solely examining children and parents to adult forms of attachment, as well as drawing parallels between early attachment relationships to those of the clinician-patient (Bennett & Vitale Saks, 2006), and the teacher-child relationship (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Goossens & van Ijzendoorn, 1990). Though there are numerous factors influencing the homeless student’s life in relation to family/parental relationships (Wolfe, Toro, & McCaskill, 1990), living environment (Vissing & Diament, 1997) and access to services, as well as physical and mental health that may be considered (Cauce, 2000), this study will focus on the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship in an effort to generate a theory of greater understanding. An educator’s consistant daily contact with students lays the foundation for the development of caring relationships and an increased understanding of hidden student struggles beyond academics (San Antonio, 2008). Moran (2007) characterizes teachers as the first point of contact for students in need, as well as the key referral source for services for youth experiencing social/emotional, behavioral, and academic difficulties, essentially acting as the “professional of choice” when in need (p. 215). The role of educators has also been studied from a resilience perspective. Morrison and Redding Allen (2007) examined the notion of student resilience, suggesting resilience stems from both the individual as well as environmental components such as the teacher’s ability to offer “protective possibilities” for students within the classroom melieu (p. 163). Additionally, teachers may act as identifiers of homeless students within the educational system as guided by school-based policy and law. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, an education for homeless children and youth program, as cited in the No

4 Child Left Behind Act of 2001, identifies and defines what qualifies a student as homeless, as well as notes what a student is entitled to educationally within the public school areana (United States Department of Education, 2006). Studies examining homeless students within the school environment have not always implemented the defining components of this mandated law or examined teachers’ knowledge or application of these areas; hence, additional research incorporating such policy is needed. The literature specifically surrounding the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship is sparse at best. Many studies have examined the teacher-student relationship in reference to school adjustment (Birch & Ladd, 1997) and specific academic areas of study (Moje, 1996). Some projects have emphasized specific behaviors such as aggression in conjunction with student homelesness (Griner Hill & Werner, 2006) or homeless student behaviors in general (Moran, 2007). Further, additional studies consider student homelessness from the vantage point of school bonding (Catalano, Haggerty, Oesterle, Fleming, & Hawkins, 2004) and in reference to the teachers’ specific childhood attachment style (Zeller, 2004). Although such studies abound, there remains a lack of in-depth information geared toward the teacher-student bond or attachment relationship created with homeless students specifically. There is a fairly large body of literature surrounding homeless students and the many factors impacting a homeless youth’s life, some highlighting the existence of the McKinney- Vento Homeless Assistance Act, but not a specific focus on the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship. Therefore, the current literature fully embracing the McKinney- Vento Act definition in its entirety in relation to attachment relationships from the perspective of educators is scarce. Such a study would allow for the examination and

5 theory generation surrounding the homeless student-teacher attachment relationship from the teachers perspective, moving beyond a general review of the school-related factors impacting homeless students to an in-depth investigation of the key relationships impacting such a vulnerable group. In sum, there is a clear need for additional research regarding the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship and a grounded theory approach would be an appropriate springboard for bringing such an important topic to light. Statement of the Problem In order to respond to the ever-growing needs of homeless students, the United States Congress implemented the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, more recently referred to as the McKinney-Vento Act, in 1987 (Duffield, 2001). Through the implementation and continued reauthorization (2002) of the McKinney-Vento Act, homeless students are being increasingly identified within the educational system; hence, a better understanding regarding the educational needs of such a vulnerable population is needed. Although federal legislation assisting homeless students exists, homeless students continue to confront barriers to education and overall academic success. Homeless students confront a multitude of issues including those of increased incidences of poor health (Rafferty & Shinn, 1991; Wood, Valdez, Hayashi, & Shen, 1990), exposure to unsafe living conditions (Berck, 1992) and a transient life-style fraught with change and school transitions, as well as a disruption in academics (Duffield 2001; Gibbs, 2004; Toro, Dworsky, & Fowler, 2007). Given such challenges, additional investigation of potential mitigating factors would be beneficial. There is currently a lack of literature surrounding the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship and its

6 possible impacts regarding the homeless student’s educational experience. The literature cites the role of teachers as paramount in bolstering student success (Geddes, 2006; Knowlton, 2006; Morgan, 2007), as well as the stable and protective environment offered to the homeless students by the school milieu (Berliner, 2002; Hall, 2007; Rafferty & Shinn, 1991). Connecting the role of teachers and how their relationships with students in need, such as homeless students, are developed and fostered may offer much-needed insight into how such a vulnerable population may succeed within the educational context. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is multifaceted in nature: to identify and explore the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship as it is perceived by the teacher and generate a theory surrounding the dimensions of such relationships. In essence, this research study will explore the teacher-homeless student relationship while discovering the key elements involved in developing and sustaining such relationships. Through a grounded theory approach, the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship will be investigated via data collection and analysis as outlined by Strauss and Corbin (1990- 2008). The existing body of research surrounding homeless youth, attachment theory, resilience, and teacher-student relationships is comprehensive in nature, but there continues to be a need for further investigation with regard to the homeless student- teacher attachment relationship. The expansion of the current knowledge base surrounding such attachment relationships may occur by way of theory generation. Furthermore, the key role played by teachers, coupled with the ever-growing needs of

7 homeless students, supports the need for discovering the potential for teacher-student attachment relationships, as they may bolster the psychological literature. Rationale This study will examine the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship as found within the educational context. To date, numerous studies have researched attachment beyond its initial scope of the infant-caregiver relationship to include adolescent development and attachments (Scharf, Mayseless, & Kivenson-Baron, 2004; Bostik & Everall, 2007), teacher-child/student attachment relationships (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Howes & Hamilton, 1992), as well as school and classroom attachment and adjustment (Granot & Mayseless, 2001; Geddes, 2006). The existing literature surrounding teacher-student relationships has yet to offer an in-depth focus on teachers’ relationships with the homeless student population. In addition, much of the literature on the topic of youth and child homelessness has emphasized specific factors impacting and/or accompanying homelessness including, substance abuse (Toro et al., 2007), poor social, emotional and physical health (Cauce, 2000; Ensign & Bell, 2004; Hall, 2000; Wood et al., 1990) and the like, rather than focusing on the positive relationships impacting the homeless youth population. As such, conducting a qualitative grounded theory study will shed light onto teacher-homeless student attachment relationships, discovering the factors that foster and maintain these relationships and unearth how such relationships may be beneficial for both teacher and student. Research Questions Given the purpose of this dissertation, the overarching research question is: “What is the process of developing teacher-homeless student attachment relationships?” In

8 order to generate a comprehensive theory regarding the nature of such relationships, the study must examine the process by which such relationships are formed and sustained. Significance of the Study According to the 2005 Facts on Trauma and Homeless Children report generated by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, more than 1.3 million children in America are homeless at some point during the year and on any given day over 200,000 children are living without a home. Homeless youth as a population is a “vulnerable group” as a result of not only their young age and lack of adequate/stable housing, but due to their stigmatized status, lack of economic supports, and limited access to health care (Ensign, 2005). Furthermore, young children and adolescents lack the skills and tools necessary for obtaining a job; therefore, such a financial limitation makes them more susceptible to committing crimes or becoming the victims of crime and exploitation (Wolfe, et al., 1990). According to Hall (2007), homeless students face a number of emotional, behavioral, social, physical and health problems including irrational fears, low self-esteem, inappropriate social interaction, hunger and sleeping problems, as well as psychological and cognitive problems, just to name a few. In light of the propensity of such risks, Cauce’s (2000) assertion that homeless youth are cited as a population with “disproportionately high rates of emotional and behavioral problems,” such as depression and anxiety, should not be surprising (p. 230). Hall asserts the school environment is likely the most stable component of the homeless student’s life; hence, such a setting offers great opportunity for student support and is thus worthy of further exploration. Given the growing number of homeless students in the public school system, additional research is needed with regard to the factors that positively influence the lives

9 of homeless students, specifically the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship. The current literature surrounding homeless students (Hall, 2007; Vissing & Diament, 1997) concentrates on influencing factors such as poverty, abuse, lack of social and family supports, and difficulty of navigating the educational system, rather than how positive factors such as the relationships held by homeless students and their educators influence both the academic and social arenas. Obtaining an in-depth understanding of the essence of such relationships may shed light on the educational and psychological barriers and supports offered to students within the educational environment. Such a study will work to illuminate both public and professional understanding of the needs of this prevalent and growing population of students within the public school system. Building the knowledge base of the homeless youth experience with regard to attachment relationships is directly significant to the field of psychology. The identification of the psychological underpinnings of homeless student-teacher attachments will not only advance the understanding of associated mental health conditions, but will also help to ascertain the services needed by such youth. This dissertation will bolster the existing literature in many ways. From a qualitative grounded theory standpoint, such a research topic would contribute to the existing literature surrounding homeless youth by way of theory development rather then verification and/or description of a phenomenon of interest. Furthermore, this study moves beyond simply generating numerical and/or statistical data, to theory generation stemming from the educator perspective. Gathering information/data from an adult perspective is evidenced in the work of Birch and Ladd (1997) through the use of teachers’ perspectives as a source of information on the teacher-student relationship in

10 relation to school adjustment. A study conducted by Reed-Victor and Stronge (2002) also used adult teachers’ perspectives as a mode for investigating homeless student resilience. This study will further utilize teacher perspective-based data, allowing for the voices of homeless students to be heard by way of discovering the teacher-student attachment relationship. By examining these relationships from the vantage point of one of its major players, the teacher, the existing literature is again advanced. In addition, this dissertation will extend the existing literature surrounding homeless youth through examining homelessness within the educational or public school domain. Many existing studies investigate homeless youth in relation to living on the streets/shelters (Hackman, 2002) or comparing a homeless student’s living environment to that of his/her housed peers (Wolfe et al., 1990). In contrast, the study hones in on the school/teacher-based relational experience, rather than solely citing it as one of many factors impacting the homeless student’s life. Such emphasis may help to unearth the inner workings of these relationships; allowing for theoretical generalization. Finally, in addition to gathering data from the teachers themselves and exploring homelessness with regard to relationships within the public school setting, this dissertation may also aid in the discovery of how the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is viewed by the teacher study participants. Teachers are the individuals on the front lines of student education and the many provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act directly impact the teacher’s role including adjustment of academic standards, an understanding of absenteeism, consideration of home-life changes, as well as other assignment modifications.

11 Definition of Terms The literature surrounding youth and child homelessness abounds and the definitions of homeless within such studies vary (Toro et al., 2007). Given the expansive number of youth and student homelessness, a clear conceptual definition for this study is needed in order to answer the research question. Further, terms such as public school setting, attachment relationship and the like must also be conceptually defined with respect to the research question. Student/Youth Homelessness This term will be defined by way of scholarly literature and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, an education for homeless children and youth program, as cited in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (U.S. Department of Education, 2006). The McKinney-Vento law works to identify and define what qualifies a student as homeless, as well as citing what a student is entitled to educationally. Under the McKinney-Vento Act homeless youth are defined as: Individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence including: Children and Youth who are: Sharing the housing of other person due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as doubled-up); Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations; Living in emergency or transitional shelters; Abandoned in hospitals; or awaiting foster care placement; Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces,

12 abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings, and Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances above. (Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program, 2004, pp. 2-3) Unaccompanied Youth is another term used by the McKinney-Vento Act in defining the homeless student including: Youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. This would include youth living in runaway shelters, abandoned buildings, cars, on the streets, or in other inadequate housing and other children and youth denied housing by their families (sometimes referred to as “throwaway” children and youth), and school- age unwed mothers, living in homes for unwed mothers, who have no other housing available. (Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program, 2004, p. 31) In addition to the McKinney-Vento definition, homeless youth will be further defined as children ages 5 years to 21 years of age, as the student population in the public school system possesses such a wide range of ages. Further, such youth may be homeless as a result of being “displaced by” or separated from their home due to a “natural disaster” such as hurricanes (Hall, 2007, p. 9). Additionally, some youth become homeless due to their need to run away from “intolerable home situations where they have endured neglect, and physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse” (Ensign, 2006, p. 647). Homeless youth may also be defined as those who are transitory, being homeless for short periods of time, or those who are “chronically” homeless taking refuge in

13 shelters or “makeshift” living domains (Cauce, 2000, Homelessness Among Adolescents section, para. 1). Public School Public school is defined as an institution of education that receives funding from county (local), state and government sources. Public schools are free to students living in their district. Public School Teacher Public school teacher is defined as an individual that has completed an approved teacher education program (at least a bachelor’s degree) and is licensed to educate children in elementary, middle and/or high schools (Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor, 2007). In addition, such individuals must meet the certification criteria set forth by the state of Georgia including the required level of education and completion of necessary licensing components including testing and supervised experience. The public school teacher is further defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, as an individual “using classroom presentations or individual instruction to help students learn and apply concepts in subjects such as science, mathematics, or English” (Nature of the Work section, para. 1). Attachment Relationship Attachment relationship will be defined as the relational bond existing between teacher and homeless student. Such a bond may be illustrated through additional instructional assistance, time spent beyond the academic school day, teacher guidance and advocacy, as well as the student’s reliance on a teacher for social and emotional

14 support, as such relationships may not be available within the home (Bostik & Everall, 2007). Attachment Behavior Actions such as proximity seeking and eliciting assistance from a more wise, experienced, or capable adult attachment figure (Bowlby, 1988). Observational Definition In order to more fully discover the nuances of the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship an observational definition is also needed, as such a definition can act as a guide for observing this phenomenon. Teacher-homeless student attachment may be observed through the teacher’s extended interest in the welfare of the student. The teacher may spend additional classroom and extracurricular time with the student by way of offering additional supports within the classroom and beyond. For instance, the teacher may offer support and guidance before or after school and express concern for the student to support personnel such as school counselors and social workers, as well as outside social support networks including churches, community centers, youth organizations, and/or other community-based agencies. In addition, the teacher may assist in making extracurricular activities accessible such as drawing on the student’s strengths in areas including sports, musical and/or artistic talents through introducing the student to an outlet for such skills. Furthermore, the teacher may demonstrate an investment in the homeless student’s current and future success by way of assisting with a job search and/or furthering his/her post-high school education via testing preparation and college applications. In essence, the teacher may demonstrate an increased level of

15 care and concern beyond the traditional academic arena, extending beyond the classroom environment. The conceptual and observational definitions lay the foundational elements needed to answer the driving research question, “What is the process of developing teacher-homeless student attachment relationships?” By way of examining teacher actions and efforts such as seeking out help for the homeless student and building a relationship beyond that found within the traditional classroom setting, the potential for discovering the key components of the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship is made possible. Assumptions Key theoretical, topical, and conceptual assumptions will be defined for this research study. The theoretical assumption surrounds the particular use of attachment theory. Attachment theory, originally developed by John Bowlby (1973), aims to explain the emergence and withdrawal of attachment behaviors, as well as the attachment relationship or lasting bond formed by children and individuals to others. Given the research goals surrounding the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship, it is logical to use the theoretical backing of attachment theory. The researcher may be assuming that the theory developed by Bowlby readily translates to that of the teacher- homeless student relationship. The topical assumption surrounds notions of teachers’ roles with regard to their students. Previous research cites teachers as functioning on the front line of student support, especially for those students in need. This researcher takes for granted that all teachers function in this manner and does not ask if this assumption is true. It is possible

16 that some teachers more readily function beyond the realm of academics, acting as student mentors, recognize social and emotional needs of students, make referrals to school support staff, and take an interest in the overall success of their students. Further, it is assumed that teachers are able to recognize students experiencing homelessness, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. The methodological assumption lies within the researcher’s assumption that qualitative data, such as those stemming from open-ended interviews, provide valid scientific data in most situations. This researcher assumes the data collected and analyzed via Strauss and Corbin’s (1990) procedures such as coding will be done precisely and will therefore offer rigorous information. Nature of the Study (or Theoretical/Conceptual Framework) According to Strauss and Corbin (1990), the researcher seeks to develop a theory grounded in data; hence, one would not want to be constrained to a predetermined theoretical framework. Utilizing an existing conceptual framework may hinder the research process and the development of a new theory. Given such guidance, a theory will not be specified. Organization of the Remainder of the Study This study suggests homeless students are an at-risk population on the rise and although laws such as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act assist homeless children and youth, additional research surrounding key components, such as the teacher- homeless student attachment relationship, is greatly needed. It is hoped by exploring the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship, additional insight surrounding the process by which these relationships are developed and fostered, as well as how they will

Full document contains 164 pages
Abstract: Homeless children and youth are a population on the rise (Berck, 1992; National Center for Homeless Education, 2008). Recent studies report a staggering 1.3 million homeless children and 3.8 million homeless families living in the United States (Institute of Children and Poverty, 2009; National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2005). This growth has been attributed to factors such as lack of affordable housing and poverty, as well as the more recent increase in unemployment and housing foreclosures (Duffield, 2001; Erienbusch, O'Conner, Downing, & Watlov Phillips, 2008; Institute on Children and Poverty, 2009; Knowlton, 2006). Homeless children and their families are particularly vulnerable given their lack of consistent and adequate housing, high levels of mobility, barriers to education and medical coverage, poor physical and psychological health and increased incidences of substance abuse and victimization (Duffield, 2001; Rafferty & Shinn, 1991; Toro, Dworsky, & Fowler, 2007; Wood, Valdez, Hayashi & Shen, 1990). For homless children, life is a series of transitions and the school environment is the most or only stable component of the homeless student's life (Knowlton, 2006). This study, therefore, examines the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship in an effort to generate a theory surrounding the key dimensions of these relationships. In order to better explore the plight of homeless children and youth, this study also briefly reviews the relevant literature surrounding homelessness, the role played by teachers in educating homeless students and the impacts of federal legislation such as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. In addition, Bowlby's attachment theory is examined as a means for further understanding the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship. A focus group and in-depth interviews of public school teachers will be conducted in an effort to develop a comprehensive grounded theory of the teacher-homeless student attachment relationship.