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Serving Young Children Experiencing Homelessness Preconference Institute. National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth 24rd Annual Conference | Albuquerque, New Mexico October 27, 2012. Young Homeless Children: National Numbers and Trends.

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Serving young children experiencing homelessness preconference institute

Serving Young Children Experiencing HomelessnessPreconference Institute

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth

24rd Annual Conference | Albuquerque, New Mexico

October 27, 2012

Young homeless children national numbers and trends

Young Homeless Children:National Numbers and Trends

  • In 2008-2009, 52% of all children in HUD homeless shelters were under the age of 6

  • Nearly 30,000 homeless children ages 3-5 (not kindergarten) were enrolled in public preschool programs in 2008-2009; this is only 4% of all students identified as homeless by public schools

  • The number of homeless children served by Head Start nationally increased by 44% between 2007 and 2009

Homeless children as percent of cumulative enrollment in head start and early head start programs

Homeless Children as Percent of Cumulative Enrollment in Head Start and Early Head Start Programs

Source: Head Start Program Information Reports 2008-2012

The reality of family homelessness

The Reality of Family Homelessness

  • Lack of structure, routine, stability

  • Trauma

  • Loss

  • Lack of access to food

  • Lack of health care

  • Inappropriate living conditions (no play space, overcrowded, unhealthy, over-stimulation or under-stimulation)

  • Stressed attachments to caregivers

  • Invisibility

Impacts on young children

Impacts on Young Children

  • Higher rates of developmental delays:

    • Infants who are homeless start life needing special care four times more often than other babies

    • Homeless toddlers show significantly slower development than other children

  • Higher rates of chronic and acute health problems

  • Higher exposure to domestic and other types of violence

Reflection 1

Reflection 1

Take a moment to reflect on the impact of homelessness on young children and their families and the relevance of this information to your work. Jot down a phrase or two to record your thoughts.

Serving young children experiencing homelessness preconference institute

Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH)

Authorizes and amends the McKinney-Vento homeless assistance programs administered by HUD

Signed into law May 2009

Regulations have been issued

Hearth act: new hud assurances related to CHILDREN

Serving young children experiencing homelessness preconference institute

“Project applicants must demonstrate that programs that provide housing or services to families are designating a staff person to ensure that children are enrolled in school and connected to the appropriate services within the community, including early childhood programs such as Head Start, Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, and McKinney-Vento education services”

Hearth act: hudassurances related to young children

Getting started

Getting started……

  • Finding out about what’s out there for young children to support their learning

  • Connecting with colleagues to better address the needs of young homeless children

  • Work to enroll them in the most high quality early childhood programs you can find!

Early childhood landscape early development care and education

Early Childhood Landscape:Early Development, Care and Education

  • Child Care

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

  • State Pre-Kindergarten Programs

  • McKinney-Vento and Preschool

  • Head Start & Early Head Start

  • MIECHV Home Visiting

Early childhood landscape child care

Early Childhood Landscape: Child Care

  • Federal CCDF block grant that states can supplement

    • State and local child care funding supplements

    • States can use federal TANF block grant funds

  • Designated “state child care administrator”

  • State administrative rules, e.g., eligibility, priorities

  • State and some local regulations

  • CCDF requires coordination of ALL child care through Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (CCR&R)

  • CCDF designates set asides for quality initiatives and services for infants and toddlers

Early childhood landscape child care1

Early Childhood Landscape: Child Care

  • Subsidized Child Care

    • Publically funded child care centers, networks of family child care homes through contracts and grants to local agencies

  • Child Care Subsidies, or Vouchers

    • Used by families to purchase care from licensed and unregulated care providers, including relatives and friends, for the care that best meets their needs

  • Serve children from infants through school-age

  • Quality Rating & Improvement Systems (QRIS)

Early childhood landscape idea parts b c

Early Childhood Landscape: IDEA Parts B & C

  • Federal funds to states under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

    • Part B/619 – Preschool Special Education ages 3-5

    • Part C – Infants and Toddlers

  • Uses McKinney-Vento definition of homeless

  • Provides for identification, location, evaluation and education of children with disabilities who are experiencing homelessness

    • Individualized Plan (ISP, IFSP)

    • Home-based, classroom & consultation models

    • Goal of mainstreaming

Early childhood landscape state pre k programs

Early Childhood Landscape: State Pre-K Programs

  • State funding of preschool services for 4-year-olds or for 3- and 4-year-olds

    • Most states now have some type of state pre-k system

  • State agencies provide leadership and funding to local school districts

    • Both school based and community providers

    • Both targeted and universal designs

    • State Advisory Councils (under the Head Start Act), Early Childhood Cabinets and integrated state agencies and departments

      • Local councils and community partnerships

Early childhood landscape mckinney vento and preschool

Early Childhood Landscape: McKinney-Vento and Preschool

  • School district McKinney-Vento liaisons must ensure that families and children have access to Head Start, any public preschool programs administered by the LEA and Even Start if still available

  • State McKinney-Vento plans must describe procedures that ensure that homeless children have access to public preschool programs

  • School districts are required to remove barriers to the enrollment of homeless children, including preschool children

Early childhood landscape head start

Early Childhood Landscape: Head Start

  • Created under LBJ’s “War on Poverty” ~ 1965

     included other programs & initiatives like Job Corpsand Community Action Agencies

  • Intended to achieve 2 primary goals

    ~ break the cycle of poverty

    ~ empower low-income families

  • Specific child goals:

    ~ social competence

    ~ school readiness

Early childhood landscape head start1

Early Childhood Landscape: Head Start

  • 1,600 grantees in the U.S (and U.S. territories) that serve over 900,000 children (age 0 to 5) annually

  • Direct federal to local funding – does not pass through any state agency

    • Head Start – preschool aged children ages 3-5

      • Vary as to number of three’s and four’s

    • Early Head Start – pregnant women and children ages birth to 3 years

      • Reaches about 5% of those eligible

Early childhood landscape head start2

Early Childhood Landscape: Head Start

Head Start mandates COMPREHENSIVE SERVICES to children and families - a unique feature of the program

  • Health Services = health, mental health, dental, nutrition and physical activity; prenatal care

  • Education and special education/disabilities services

    • Approximately 20% of children with IEPs served by Head Start

  • Family services thru Family Partnership Agreement, parent involvement and governance, fatherhood initiatives, etc.

    • 20-25% of Head Start staff are current or former Head Start parents

  • Community partnerships

Early childhood landscape head start3

Early Childhood Landscape: Head Start

Head Start Program Services:

  • Full-day/full-year; part day/part year; school day/ school year

  • Program designs include Center-based, Home-based, and Family Child Care (Home Start)

  • Combination and Locally Designed Options

    Head Start Act of 2007 allows programs to explore changing program designs to meet changing needs based on their local community assessment

Early childhood landscape head start4

Early Childhood Landscape: Head Start

Enrollment primarily based on federal poverty

At least 10% of children must have active IEP/IFSP

Additional categorical eligibility:

  • Families on public assistance (TANF)

  • Children in foster care

  • Children who are homeless according to the McKinney-Vento education definition

Head start a perfect match for homeless families

Head Start: A Perfect Match for Homeless Families

  • Head Start provides comprehensive services that homeless children may not otherwise receive

  • The Head Start focus on entire family means parents receive assistance in reaching their goals

  • Philosophy of community partnerships put Head Start in an excellent position to work with all agencies serving homeless families

  • Head Start programs are required to identify and prioritize homeless children for enrollment; allow homeless children to enroll while required paperwork is obtained; and coordinate with LEA liaisons and other community agencies

Early childhood landscape miechv home visiting

Early Childhood Landscape: MIECHV Home Visiting

  • New national resource through the federal Affordable Care Act

  • States must select and implement from among a list of designated evidence-based models

  • Focused on high risk populations

  • State advisory bodies and coordinated professional development

Early care and education landscape

Head Start & Early Head Start

Child Care


State Pre-Kindergarten Programs

Other Early Care and Education Partners

Early Care and Education Landscape

Activity early childhood development care and education landscape in your world

ACTIVITY: Early Childhood Development, Care and Education Landscape in Your World

Work with someone sitting near you to complete the Early Childhood Development, Care and Education Infrastructure in My State/ Community for either the state or local level

If you cannot complete a cell, use the Early Childhood Development, Care and Education Resource List to find a resource for obtaining the name, contact information you need to complete our grid.

You will have 5 minutes for this activity.

Hearth act who is covered

HEARTH Act: Who is Covered?

  • The Continuum of Care agencies

  • Shelter + Care providers

  • Emergency Solutions Grants

  • Supportive Housing Project

  • To find your Continuum of Care, go to

Hearth definition of homelessness

HEARTH: Definition of Homelessness

  • Families must meet criteria before M-V definition applies:

    • Do not otherwise qualify

    • Homeless for 60 days or more

    • Moved at least 2 Xs in 60 days

    • Expected to remain homeless

  • Definition of chronic homelessness includes families where a head of household has a disability.

Hearth act education 42 u s c 11386 et seq

HEARTH Act: Education42 U.S.C. 11386 et seq.

  • Providers must

    • Demonstrate that their policies are consistent with McKinney-Vento and do not restrict the exercise of McKinney-Vento rights.

    • Designate a staff person to assist homeless children and youth connect with school, early education, special education, etc.

  • Gov’t agencies which oversee/place families in shelters must

    • Demonstrate that they are coordinating with local school systems to identify homeless children/youth and inform them about McKinney-Vento.

    • Consider the educational needs of homeless children, including placing them in shelters close to school of origin to reduce travel.

How can providers meet the hearth education requirements

How can providers meet the HEARTH education requirements?

  • Assess education needs at intake

  • Inform families of education rights and options

  • Assist discussion regarding school selection

  • Connect families with schools/education programs

  • Advocate for enrollment and access to services

  • Collaborate with school districts around provision of supportive services

  • Monitor attendance and achievement

  • Ensure shelter policies do not create barriers to education

  • Discuss education as part of exit planning

Head start

Head Start

  • No new policy updates

  • Coordinate with Head Start programs to better identify homeless families and provide services

Idea part b child find

IDEA- Part B- Child Find

  • Evaluations must be completed within 60 days from parent’s request

  • If family changes LEAs during evaluation period the same 60 day time frame applies to new LEA

  • Assessments must be coordinated between former LEA and receiving LEA

  • When homeless child has IEP and enters new LEA, the IEP must be implemented

  • If it is a new state, the IEP must be implemented while the school conducts its evaluation.

Idea part c final regulations

IDEA Part C: Final Regulations

  • New federal regulations published, in September 2011

  • Homeless children are explicitly included throughout the regulations

  • Homeless family shelters added as a primary referral source

  • 2 day referral time frame extended to 7 days

  • States can opt for screening process to determine if there is suspected disability

  • At screening level must give parents notice that they have right to request an evaluation

Idea part c final regulations1

IDEA Part C: Final Regulations

  • Evaluation determines a child’s initial and continuing eligibility

  • Assessment determines the child’s unique strengths and needs and the intervention services appropriate

  • Enhanced due process option: lead agency may establish procedure allowing aggrieved party at due process hearing to request reconsideration

  • Copies of evaluations, assessments and IFSPs must be provided to parents at no cost

Child care subsidy

Child Care Subsidy

  • New federal legislation introduced on Aug. 1! “Improving Access to Child Care for Homeless Families Act of 2012”

  • Prioritize homeless children for access to care

  • Immediate enrollment w/o all documents

  • Ensures co-payments are not barrier

  • Lead agency must coordinate w/ M-V school liaison and other community providers

  • Go to to the legislative update section for sample letter to U.S. Senator

Reflection 2

Reflection 2

Take a moment to reflect on existing and potential resources in your community. What do you need to learn about them so that you can work together to support young children and families? Jot down a phrase or two to record your thoughts.

Barriers to early childhood programs for families experiencing homelessness

Barriers to Early Childhood Programsfor Families Experiencing Homelessness

  • Lack of awareness: Head Start programs may not know the definition of homelessness, MV liaisons may not be “fluent” in early childhood systems, HUD providers may not know “lay of the land” of ECE

  • Lack available slots for all eligible children, especially infants and toddlers, including those who are homeless

  • Lack of capacity for McKinney-Vento liaisons and Head Start programs to do outreach and targeted assistance

  • High mobility

  • Lack of transportation

  • Lack of documentation for enrollment

Removing barriers strategies for awareness and identification

Removing Barriers:Strategies for Awareness and Identification

  • Head Start programs/school districts can incorporate questions on housing status on applications

  • McKinney-Vento liaisons can inquire about young siblings of school-age children

  • Homeless service providers can document ages of all children at intake, and make referrals to Head Start, ECEAP, and other ECE programs

Removing barriers strategies for awareness and identification1

Removing Barriers:Strategies for Awareness and Identification

  • Early childhood programs can include information on how to recognize homelessness in staff development/trainings/in-services

  • Shelters can make sure that young children are assessed for developmental delays

  • New HUD contacts can be trained in assessment programs (Ages and Stages, Early Intervention programs, and Special Education Child Find) that provide indicators of potential developmental delays

Removing barriers strategies for identification and responding to mobility

Removing Barriers:Strategies for Identification and Responding to Mobility

  • Obtain parental consent for release of information from providers or liaison in order to share information between agencies, and obtain new addresses and continue to provide services when families move

  • In anticipation of mobility, develop joint procedures to expedite services and provide continuous services for highly mobile children.

Removing barriers strategies to expedite access

Removing Barriers:Strategies to Expedite Access

  • Liaisons and homeless service staff can provide Head Start applications to identified families and help them fill them out

  • Expedite records by working together; e.g. liaisons can get immunization records, etc. for young siblings of school-age children

  • Develop joint or streamlined procedures and forms (e.g. housing intake forms)

Putting it all together strategies for collaboration

Putting it All Together:Strategies for Collaboration

Head Start & ECEAP Programs could adopt a number of strategies to reach homeless families:

  • Develop relationship with K-12 Homeless Liaison for referrals

  • Assign staff member to be the liaison with local homeless shelters/service providers

  • Training for family advocates to continue identifying homeless families throughout the year as circumstances change

  • Presentations and visits to (and from) homeless shelters and advocacy groups about services available

  • Create connections with food banks, churches, health department, and housing groups in the community

Putting it all together strategies for funding comprehensive services

Putting it All Together:Strategies for Funding Comprehensive Services

Serving young children experiencing homelessness preconference institute

Reaching Children Where They Are: Using Federal Funding to Support Comprehensive Services in Child Care

Christine Johnson-Staub

Senior Policy Analyst

Hannah Matthews


Child Care and Early Education

May 1, 2012

Why comprehensive services

Why Comprehensive Services?

Programs showing lasting benefits of high quality early education focused on whole child and included comprehensive services.

Increased attention to school readiness, child outcomes, return on investment.

Increased poverty has increased need for comprehensive services.

What do we mean by comprehensive services

What Do We Mean By Comprehensive Services?

Connection and access to preventive health care services, such as assistance in connecting to medical homes, preventive dental screenings, and tracking of vaccination and medical screening records;

Support for emotional, social and cognitive development, including screening to identify developmental delays, mental health concerns, and other conditions that may warrant early intervention, mental health services, or educational interventions;

Family leadership and support, including parent leadership development, parenting support, abuse prevention strategies, and connecting families to needed social services.

Why financing and funding partnerships

Why Financing and Funding Partnerships?

  • Child Care and Early Education Funding is Insufficient

    • Head Start serves 40% of eligible preschoolers and fewer than 3% of eligible infants and toddlers.

    • CCDBG serves 17% of eligible children and states do not pay rates higher enough to support comprehensive services.

  • Emphasis on effective and efficient use of funds.

    • States, localities exploring ways to coordinate service delivery sectors and funding streams

Early childhood system components

Early Childhood System Components

Child SafeEnvironments

Clasp s financing work

CLASP’s Financing Work

  • CLASP studies federal funding streams and how they can best support quality early childhood programs and services.

  • Forthcoming guide to using federal funding streams to finance comprehensive services in child care and early education settings.

    • Guide to funding streams, related policies, allowable uses.

    • State and local examples.

    • Step by step advice for exploring financing strategies.

Financing guide focuses on the following funding streams

Financing Guide Focuses on the Following Funding Streams

Maternal and Child Health – Title V

Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems

Home Visiting – Evidence Based and MIECHV

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act


Elementary and Secondary Education -Title I



What can a partnership with child care look like

What Can A Partnership With Child Care Look Like?

Funding direct services in a child care setting

Funding coordination of services that take place either inside or outside of the setting

Training child care staff to provide services

Funding materials and supplies to provide services

Contact information

Contact Information

Charting Progress for

Babies in Child Care

Christine Johnson-Staub

[email protected]


Hannah Matthews

[email protected]


Services programs provide

Services Programs Provide:

  • Many programs have changed their enrollment criteriato put homeless families at the top of the list

  • Family advocates are trained to provide information on housing resources, emergency shelters, DSHS services, domestic violence and substance abuse support, counseling, & medical.

  • Transportation – some programs don’t have program-wide transportation, but do provide it for homeless families

Services programs provide1

Services Programs Provide

  • Programs provide donations of food, clothing, baby items, and other necessary items to families on a weekly basis and have started new partnerships with grocery stores who host food drives and schools hosting coat drives

  • One program has set up a gated “safe park” area with shower facilities for families living in cars, along with an indoor “camp” where families can set up tents out of the weather

Early learning coalitions

Early Learning Coalitions

  • Early Learning Coalitions in every county/community

  • Wide variety of participation and funding

  • Homeless/housing service providers and liaisons should consider attending to create connections and learn local resources

  • Sources of support, e.g., in Washington State the Foundation for Early Learning guides the coalition-building process, provides funding

Reflection 3

Reflection 3

Take a moment to reflect on the various strategies that can be used to overcome barriers and new approaches you might try in your program and community. Jot down a phrase or two to record your thoughts.

Scenarios and discussion

Scenarios and Discussion

In your small group, read through the scenarios on your table and answer the question: What would you do?

Reflections to actions

Reflections to Actions

Using your three reflections on the work we’ve done today, take a moment to record an action or two that you will take when you return to your program

Share your Action Plan with another person, or two, or three.....

Resources eclkc

Resources - ECLKC

Office of Head Start – Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center – Search ECLKC - enter “homelessness”

Go to: Training and Technical Assistance System:

From there, go to Parent, Family, and Community Engagement

From there, go to Crisis Support

From there, go to Homelessness Online Lessons



  • National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth


  • National Center on Homeless Education


  • National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center


  • Horizons for Homeless Children


  • Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP


  • Parent Training and Information Centers


    • (888) 248-0822

Policy resources

Policy Resources

  • NAEHCY:, Barbara Duffield, [email protected], 202.364.7392

  • National Center on Homeless Education:

  • National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty:

  • Zero to Three,

  • National Head Start Assoc.,

  • National Center for Children in Poverty,

  • Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness,

  • Center for Law and Social Policy,

  • Center on Budget Policy and Priorities,

Contact information1

Contact Information

Francine K. Hahn, Staff Attorney

Homeless Persons Representation Project

201 N. Charles Street, Suite 1104

Baltimore, MD 21201

Phone: 410-685-6589, x-12

[email protected]

Bettye J. Poole, BLS, MPSA

McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison, EVSC

123 Main Street, Downtown

Evansville IN  47708

Phone: 812-435-8275 [email protected]

Grace C. Whitney, PhD, MPA, IMH-E(IV)

CT Head Start State Collaboration Office

CT State Department of Education

165 Capitol Avenue

Hartford, CT 06106

Phone: 860-713-6767

Email: [email protected]

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