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McKinney-Vento and Preschool-Aged Homeless Children. National Center for Homeless Education www.serve.org/nche. True or False?. Approximately 25% of homeless children living in shelters are under the age of 5

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McKinney-Vento and Preschool-Aged Homeless Children

National Center for Homeless Education

www.serve.org/nche


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True or False?

  • Approximately 25% of homeless children living in shelters are under the age of 5

  • Approximately 45% of homeless preschoolers have at least one major developmental delay

  • Homeless preschoolers are enrolled in preschool/early intervention programs at the same rate as housed preschoolers

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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True or False?

  • Under McKinney-Vento, preschool programs run by SEAs or LEAs (including Head Start) must enroll homeless children in their programs, even if they can’t provide paperwork normally required for enrollment

  • Head Start programs are encouraged not to enroll homeless children due to their high mobility and irregular attendance

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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The face ofhomelessness

“Homeless people often don’t fit the stereotypes.

However, the segment of the homeless population that is most rapidly increasing does conform to many of society’s most offensive and simplistic conceptions about homelessness.

These homeless people do drink a lot, but it’s mostly milk and juice. They do exhibit strange behavior, but it is conduct most of us know as the ‘terrible twos.’”

From Bridging the Gap: Early Care and Education for Massachusetts Young Homeless Children

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Statistics on family homelessness

  • Children are the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population

  • 3.5 million people will experience homelessness each year; 1.35 million of these will be children

  • More than 85% of homeless families are headed by single mothers

  • 40% of homeless children living in shelters are under the age of 5

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Effects of homelessnesson children

“A review of a well-established body of research on childhood homelessness reveals a profound and accumulative negative effect on the development of children, leading many to repeat the cycle of homelessness as adults. Homelessness inhibits the physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and behavioral development of children.”

From Homelessness and Its Effects on Children, Family Housing Fund

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Effects of homelessnesson children (cont.)

  • Before birth

    • Obstacles to healthy pregnancies for homeless women

      • Poor nutrition

      • Chronic and acute health problems

      • Lack of healthcare

      • Substance abuse issues

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Effects of homelessnesson children (cont.)

  • As infants (0-18 months)

    • Low birth weight

    • Lack of healthcare

    • Lack of immunizations

    • Poor nutrition

    • Unhealthy living environment

      • Overcrowded home or shelter

      • Exposure to disease and illness

      • Lack of routine

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Effects of homelessnesson children (cont.)

  • As toddlers (18 months – 3 years)

    • Demonstrate significant developmental delays by 18 months

    • Begin to demonstrate reactions to continual stress

      • Insecurity, fear, distrust, irritability

      • Stagnancy or regression in cognitive development

    • Developmental delays are linked to subsequent behavioral and emotional problems

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Effects of homelessnesson children (cont.)

  • As preschoolers (3 –6 years)

    • 75% - at least one major developmental delay

    • 40% - two or more major developmental delays

    • 35% - emotional or behavioral problems

      • Cry more easily

      • Intense reactions to “minor events”

      • Anxiety

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Effects of homelessnesson children (cont.)

  • As preschoolers (3 –6 years)

    • 35% - emotional or behavioral problems

      • Depression

      • Withdrawal

      • Aggression and hostility

      • Hoarding of food and possessions

    • 20% - extreme emotional distress warranting professional intervention

    • Receive less preschool services than housed peers

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Benefits of Early Childhood Programs

  • Offer children positive experiences with peers and other nurturing adults

  • Bolster parental efficacy with their children

  • Connect families with schools, agencies, and service providers

  • Help address developmental delays and disabilities early

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Barriers to preschool participation

  • Lack of identification of preschool-aged homeless children

  • Lack of program availability

  • Waiting lists

  • Inflexible policies and structures of preschool programs

  • Lack of parent involvement strategies

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Barriers to preschool participation (cont.)

  • Lack of documents resulting in delays in enrollment and attendance

  • Lack of transportation

  • Lack of outreach to homeless families (shelters, health clinics, laundromats)

  • Lack of understanding of homelessness on the part of staff

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Who is homeless?

Lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence:

  • Doubled-up (living with others due to loss of housing or economic hardship – not by choice)

  • Motels, hotels, campgrounds (lack of alternative)

  • Emergency or transitional shelters

  • Awaiting foster care placement

  • Public or private place not designed for human living

  • Cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing bus/train stations

  • Migrant children fitting the definition

    MVHAA - Sec 725(2)

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Local Liaisons

  • Every LEA (school district) must designate a local homeless education liaison.

  • Responsibilities:

    • Ensure that homeless children and youth are identified

    • Ensure that homeless students enroll in and have full and equal opportunity to succeed in school

    • Post public notice of educational rights

    • Arrange services and transportation

    • Resolve disputes

    • Coordinate and collaborate with agencies

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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McKinney-Vento and Preschool

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

  • Originally authorized in 1987

  • Reauthorized in 2001 as Title X, Part C of NCLB

  • Provides stability, access, and support for academic success for homeless children and youth, including preschool-aged children

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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McKinney-Vento and Preschool (cont.)

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

  • State coordinators must coordinate with social service agencies, child development and preschool program personnel and other agencies to provide comprehensive services to preschoolers

  • Local liaisons must ensure that families and children receive Head Start, Even Start programs and preschool programs

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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McKinney-Vento and Preschool (cont.)

  • Identification of homeless preschool-aged children

  • Immediate enrollment in SEA (state department of education) or LEA programs, even if lacking documentation

  • Comparable transportation

  • Can use subgrant funds to provide early childhood programs that serve homeless preschoolers

  • General mandate to provide access and remove barriers to enrollment and retention

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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McKinney-Vento and Title I

  • Homeless children and youth are automatically eligible for Title I services

  • A state must include in its Title I plan a description of how the plan is coordinated with the McKinney-Vento Act

  • Districts may reserve (set aside) funds to provide services for homeless students that are not available from other sources

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Head Start

  • Head Start programs run by SEAs or LEAs must adhere to McKinney-Vento preschool guidelines

  • 1992 memo from USHHS/ACF to all Head Start Grantees

    • Identified barriers to the participation of homeless children and provided strategies for addressing these barriers

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Head Start Memo

Encourages programs to

  • Target homeless families for enrollment, including collaborating with shelters and other agencies for recruitment purposes

  • Modify the program as needed to serve homeless children

  • Prioritize homeless children for enrollment

    • Reserve slots (number or percentage)

    • Prioritize on waiting lists

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Head Start Memo (cont.)

  • Encourages programs to

    • Provide transportation

    • Keep homeless children in the same program, even if the child moves

    • Include homeless parents on Policy Councils

  • Clarifies misconceptions about ADA (average daily attendance)

    • 85% minimum ADA is a tool for evaluating attendance, not a rigid mandate

      Memo at: www.serve.org/nche/downloads/hhs_preschool_memo.pdf

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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IDEA 2004

  • IDEA now includes a definition of homeless that is consistent with the McKinney-Vento definition

  • IDEA’s Child Find provisions require that children with disabilities experiencing homelessness be identified, located, and evaluated for early intervention (Part C) or preschool special education (Part B) services

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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IDEA 2004 (cont.)

  • IDEA requires early intervention services to be made available to all infants and toddlers; the new law specifically mentions homeless children

  • States are required to meaningfully involve homeless families and wards of the state in their special education programs for infants and toddlers

  • Helpful resources

    • www.serve.org/nche/downloads/briefs/idea.pdf

    • www.childfindidea.org

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Strategies for Serving Homeless Preschoolers

School districts:

  • Identify all preschool programs, both public and private

  • Create awareness of the needs of homeless families and young children

  • Train SEA and LEA preschool staff on McKinney-Vento rights and provisions

  • Post notice of rights under McKinney-Vento in places where homeless families with young children frequent

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Strategies for Serving (cont.)

  • Provide transportation to preschool programs

  • Utilize McKinney-Vento subgrant funds and/or Title I set aside funds for preschool needs of homeless children

  • Enlist the help of school personnel, including secretaries, in identifying preschool-aged children among the homeless families who enroll their school-aged children

  • Initiate interagency communication and collaboration

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Strategies for Serving (cont.)

Preschool programs:

  • Include homelessness as a criteria for priority enrollment

  • Establish slots for preschool-aged homeless children (these slots may be subsidized by programs or business partners)

  • Reach out to homeless families prior to enrollment and on an ongoing basis

  • Be flexible with policies that may serve as barriers (enrollment requirements, policies on absences, etc.)

  • Adjust program schedules to accommodate homeless families, particularly parents who work

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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Additional Resources

  • NCHE’s preschool page: www.serve.org/nche/ibt/sc_preschool.php

  • McKinney-Vento full text and Policy Guidance: www.serve.org/nche/m-v.php

  • Project HOPE’s publications page: www.wm.edu/hope/infobrief/infobrief.html

    Helping Young Children Grow & Learn: A Guide for Families & Shelter Providers

    Using the Best That We Know: Supporting Young Children Experiencing Homelessness

    Unlocking Potential! What Families and Shelters Need to Know About Homelessness and Special Education 2003

    Unlocking Potential! What Educators Need to Know About Homelessness and Special Education 2003

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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National Partners

  • National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)

    www.naehcy.org

  • National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)

    www.serve.org/nche

  • National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP)

    www.nlchp.org

    NCHE publications are supported through a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs.

National Center for Homeless Education • www.serve.org/nche


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