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Homelessness is an early Childhood Crisis Interagency Strategies for Change NAEHCY Conference – Atlanta 2013 • Babies, Brains and Bridges • Nancy A. Hubley, Esq. • Education Law Center • www.elc-pa.org • Nicole Anderson • Educating Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Initiative • November 2013
Session Overview • Babies • *Importance of “relationship – in all of our work • Brains: • * Importance of “now” – brain research • Bridges: • * Importance of rights and responsibilities • across service systems
Homelessness - Defined Same definition child serving federal laws “lack a fixed, regular, adequate night time residence” McKinney-Vento (access to preschool) Head Start (eligible; priority; plan) IDEA – Parts B and C (find, EI & FAPE) Your state law: does it include young children experiencing homeless?
MVA: Right to Access Preschool • Homeless children are entitled to a free appropriate public education, including a preschool education. [§ 721(1)] • Homeless children must have equal access to the same public preschool programs, administered by the State agency, as provided to other children in the State. [§ 722(g)(i)(F)(i)] • LEAs must provide students in homeless situations with transportation services comparable to those provided to other students. [§ 722(g)]
MVA: State Responsibilities • State Coordinators: must coordinate with social services agencies, child development, preschool program personnel and other agencies to provide comprehensive services to preschoolers [§722(f)(4) and (5)(A)] • Homeless liaisons: must ensure children expereincing homelessness, receive educational services for which they are eligible, including Head Start, Even Start programs and preschool programs administered by the LEA. [§722(g)(6)]
Early Intervention Mandates States Must: • Locate, identify and evaluate children experiencing homelessness • Make EI services available • Ensure appropriate EI services are based on scientifically based research. • Ensure the meaningful involvement families experiencing homelessness in planning and implementation of Part C • Include a representative of the State’s McKinney Vento Coordinator in the SIC
BABIES • Babies are Infants, toddlers and preschool children under age 6 • 40-55% of all children experiencing homelessness • Young children come accompanied by an adult – “in relationship” Most often with single mother, fleeing domestic violence • Increasing research focuses on importance of adult-child relationship Strength of relationship is critical to all future learning
Homeless Mothers: Challenges • Single, late 20’s • 2 young children • Multi-generational poverty • Parental neglect; childhood abuse • Domestic and community violence • Limited education • Barriers to employment • Unhappy relationships • Frequent health problems David, et. al, 2012
Impact of Homelessness • More likely to experience health problems • Now and later (Adverse childhood experiences - ACE) • Environmental conditions (e.g., 2X more likely EBLLs) • Higher use of emergency room services • At greater risk for major developmental delays • 4x the rate of physical developmental delays • 3x the rate of emotional/behavioral problems • 2x the rate of learning disabilities
More Impact - Emotional High rates of parent-child separation 22% separated from families High rates of exposure to trauma, transition, and abuse More likely to exhibit extreme emotional distress
BRAINS of Babies • Poets and romantics – “the celestial openness of a child’s mind” • Critical window of opportunity for development – prenatal and beyond 700 new new neural connections formed every second – first days! Capacity for change decreases with age (e.g. 2nd language?) • Babies remember! • Even before birth - (e.g. recognize mother’s voice; Dr. Seuss) • Brains remember beyond a “photograph” of an event • Environment = stable or fragile foundation for healthy development • Early childhood experiences – matter for a life time!
BRAINS – WHAT WE KNOW • Plasticity means it is easier and more effective to influence the developing brain in early childhood • Stable, nurturing, responsive relationships in early childhood can prevent and REVERSE harmful effects of stress and improve learning, behavior, and health • Toddlers with secure, trusting relationships with caregivers experience minimal stress hormone activation when frightened
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) • Study: Large investigation into the associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being • Findings: Certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States • Conclusion: Many of the worst health and social problems are consequences of adverse childhood experiences.
Major Findings • Adults with ACE scores of 4 or higher were: • 2x as likely to be smokers than those with 0 ACEs • 7x more likely to be alcoholic • 10x more likely to hav`einjected street drugs • 12x more likely to have attempted suicide • Various increased rates of early death from leading diseases – less likely to reach age 65
> 4 “adverse Childhood Experiences”…. • More likely to experience health problems • Higher use of emergency room services Sick 4 x’s more often (respiratory, ear infections, gastrointestinal) • At greater risk for major developmental delays 4x the rate of physical developmental delays 3x the rate of emotional/behavioral problems 2x the rate of learning disabilities
More information: The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study: http://www.acestudy.org/home “The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress” - Pediatrics – The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (2012)
Right to early learning experiences - Why does it matter? Research shows early learning experiences: • Make a difference in a child’s brain and life outcomes • Offer positive experiences with peers • Offer positive, stable, nurturing adults • Support positive parenting and parent/child relationships • Connect families with schools, agencies, and services • Screen and address developmental delays and disabilities
“An environment of stable, stimulating, and protective relationships builds a strong foundation for a lifetime of effective learning.” • Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Protecting Brains, not Simply Stimulating Minds
Relationships Matter Improved adult–child interaction can produce: • Improved physical growth • Enhanced mental development • Improved health • Better behavioral development
Using What we know to create change • Young children without homes are at high risk. • Quality early education programs and stable relationships can be protective and enriching. • We need to connect more children experiencing homelessness to stable, stimulating and protective relationships at home and in early ed programs
Cross-system solutionsMulti-system children and families with complex needs • Head Start & Early Head Start • Child Care • IDEA • Early Intervention Services • State Pre-Kindergarten Programs • Other Early Care and Education Partners
Bridges Collaborative: Mission “We think broadly and deeply about meeting the needs of children birth to five who reside in shelters, doubled up situations, or who lack housing that is fixed, regular, or adequate We aspire to be a catalyst for change and alignment among systems to improve developmental outcomes and resilience of these vulnerable young children and their families We share responsibility and work collaboratively to create a culture that supports and nurtures cross-system and innovative state and local policies, practices, and resources that promote resiliency and school success for young children experiencing homelessness.”
Bridges – Impact on State Policy • State Task Force: (Act 123) • Education of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness(July 5, 2012) • http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/US/HTM2012/0/0123.htm • (First) State Policy: (OCDEL 13-#01) • Young Children Experiencing Homelessness (May 9, 2013) email@example.com
What’s Going on In Your State? • Does your state have an early education policy for young children exp. Homelessness? • Does your state include preschool children 3-5 in education initiatives regarding homelessness? • How are your state and local homeless liaisons doing to reach out to early education providers? Early Intervention? Head Start? To work with Child care subsidy programs?
Strategies for Early ChildhoodProviders • Keep slots open for homeless students • Provide awareness training and collaborate with early care and community preschools • Coordinate with IDEA EI Providers for Child Find • Know your district’s identified Homeless Liaisons. Provide enrollment forms and informational brochures, send flyers home in backpacks of school-aged students • Invite McKinney-Vento Coordinators and/or District Liaisons to serve on Advisory Councils, Boards, Community Assessments • Pool resources to provide cross-training
Strategies for Identifying Pre-K Homeless Children • Partner with family shelters to identify young children • Partner with faith-based groups and other who serve children in poverty and do outreach • Develop community awareness of McKinney-Vento eligibility and rights to access preschool programs, including early intervention.
Contact us: • Nicole Anderson • Region 4 Coordinator • Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program • Pittsburgh, PA 15120 • Nicole.firstname.lastname@example.org • Nancy A. Hubley, Esq. • Pittsburgh Director • Education Law Center • 429 Fourth Avenue • Suite 702 • Pittsburgh, PA 15219 • www.elc-pa.org • email@example.com
A Note of Appreciation • The creation of this presentation is a culmination of the collaborative efforts of the following: • Education Law Center • University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development • PA Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program (Region 4)