Kids face the greatest risk of eviction of any age group. The consequences can last a lifetime.

Originally published on Youth Today.

Dr. Diana Cutts, a pediatrician and principal investigator for Children’s HealthWatch, a child health and development research organization, co-authored another study last year that looks at the impact of evictions on children ages 0 to 4. The results showed that children who had been evicted faced greater risks of being in fair or poor health, developmental delays and being admitted to the hospital. The study also found that the adults in their lives were more likely to be depressed and in poor health, too, which can affect children.

Research on adverse childhood experiences shows that traumatic events like the sudden loss of housing can affect people throughout their lives, from worse mental health outcomes to a greater likelihood of cancer and drug abuse.

“I think we’ve overused words like ‘resilient’ — much to the detriment of children,” Cutts said. “Young children, including infants, experience adversity that really impacts them in a very persistent way.”

For school-age kids, even the threat of eviction can destabilize their much-needed sense of community. Bayrd, the Wisconsin lawyer, remembers talking to a former client, a single mom with multiple kids, about their teenagers who were the same age. Bayrd’s daughter was playing volleyball and practicing with the team after school, while her client’s son had to go home immediately after class to watch the younger children while his mother worked a second shift.