Early Childhood Homelessness Resources
Research has established a strong connection between a young child’s early experiences and the development of his or her brain structure. We know that homelessness jeopardizes the health, early childhood development, and educational well-being of infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children. It also creates unique barriers to participating in early care and education. With nearly 50% of children living in federally-funded homeless shelters under the age of five, this is a problem for families, communities, states and the country. And, there are concerns today, that the COVID-19 health pandemic will increase family homelessness even more.
Ensuring the early learning and development of our country’s youngest children is essential to Child Care Services Association’s (CCSA) work. Supporting the well-being of these young children and their families is an urgent task and one that is critical to improving the long-term educational outcomes of children nationwide.
Enhance your knowledge around family homelessness and the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act’s definition of “homeless” as it refers to children and youth.
Below are resources for child care professionals, community members and families to learn more and combat early childhood homelessness.
CCSA Releases Validated Tool for Homeless Shelters to Provide Positive Environments for Young Children Post-COVID-19
Child Care Services Association (CCSA) released the validated and revised Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Shelters specifically designed to help shelter staff create safe, developmentally appropriate environments for young children and their families. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) originally developed the Self-Assessment tool in 2014, and has supported and participated in the validation and revision process. View the tool here.
By Marsha Basloe, President, Child Care Services Association
Families with jobs and secure housing access child care through our country’s Child Care Resource & Referral network, friends and family and the internet. Without child care, families experiencing homelessness struggle to secure housing. And yet, for these families, accessing child care offers two important benefits—the chance to be able to participate in job training, education, and other programs essential to resolving their homelessness and the opportunity to have a safe setting for children to grow! Read more here.
Families with Children Experiencing Homelessness: FY2019-FY2021 Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plans
CCDF state plan sections mentioning homeless are from publicly available CCDF plans.
This interactive learning series is intended for professionals in Head Start, Early Head Start and child care, including early childhood and school-age child care providers, CCDF Lead Agency or designated entity staff and other key stakeholders. Learn how to identify families experiencing homelessness, conduct community outreach, and much more. Look for these modules on Moodle NC soon!
Created by the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Early Childhood Self Assessment Tool for Family Shelters is a guide to support the safe and healthy development of young children in shelter settings.
This guide is designed to help the shelter environment assist the physical, socio-emotional and intellectual development of children ages 0-5 to support these children through their experience of homelessness. There are a number of links to resources in the tool.
Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! A Housing and Shelter Provider’s Guide to Developmental and Behavioral Screening
Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! is a coordinated federal effort to encourage healthy child development, universal developmental and behavioral screening for children, and support for the families and providers who care for them.
A guide to support the safe, healthy development of young children. Family supportive housing provides essential services to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers during a stressful yet promising time in their lives, moving into and settling in a permanent, affordable supportive housing unit of their own! Supportive housing can play a critical role in the safety and the physical, socio-emotional, and intellectual development of children ages 0-5.
A guide to creating early childhood settings that support the safe and healthy development of young children experiencing homelessness. This tool is for early childhood programs as a guide for welcoming and supporting families and children experiencing homelessness into these programs. Early care and education providers play a critical role in identifying and supporting families with young children who are experiencing homelessness and connecting those families to other resources within their community.
The experience of homelessness is a known risk factor for young children’s development and well-being. High-quality early care and education may help children overcome some of the negative factors associated with homelessness. However, states, communities and early care and education providers face many barriers to ensuring access to care for these young children, including challenges with identifying children who are or are at risk of experiencing homelessness.
This two-brief series provides important information about access to care for young children and their families who are experiencing homelessness.
- Facilitating Access to Early Care and Education for Children Experiencing Homelessness presents a discussion of the barriers to accessing early care and education among families experiencing homelessness, and a description of ways in which states and communities support the enrollment of children experiencing homelessness in early care and education.
- Leveraging Data to Identify Children Experiencing Homelessness examines the challenges that states and communities face in using data to identify children experiencing homelessness for early care and education.
- Early Childhood Homelessness in the United States: 50-State Profile – January 2016
- Early Childhood Homelessness in the United States: 50-State Profile – June 2017
- Early Childhood Homelessness in the United States: 50-State Profile – 2018
- Early Childhood Homelessness in the United States: 50-State Profile – 2019
Policy Statement on Meeting the Needs of Families with Young Children Experiencing and At Risk of Homelessness
This is a joint policy statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Education as of October 2016.
This campaign challenges Head Start programs to enroll more children and families experiencing homelessness. Use the featured resources to educate staff and reduce the stigma around homelessness.
Losing one’s home brings enormous challenges, yet families can be incredibly strong and determined to create a better future. Every family can build a sense of hope and learn ways to cope…and remember that no one is alone.
SchoolHouse Connections promotes success for children and youth experiencing homelessness, birth through higher education. SHC engages in policy advocacy and provides technical assistance to states and local communities.
The earlier and longer the duration of homelessness, the greater the toll it takes on a child’s health and development. Babies who experience homelessness are at great risk of harm that can set them back in life. They need our attention and action. Here are two studies on the impact of homelessness before birth and during infancy.
- COVID-19 and Homelessness: Checklist for LEAs and Early Childhood Providers
- Five Ways to Protect Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Experiencing Homelessness During COVID-19
Promoting Access to Early Childhood Services for Young Children Experiencing Homelessness
Building Early Links for Learning (BELL) is an initiative that aims to promote resilience for young children staying in Philadelphia emergency and transitional shelter with their families. BELL is informed by developmental science which states that resilience is more likely to occur when a child’s and family’s contexts are focused on responding to their needs. BELL is administered by People’s Emergency Center and is currently funded by a grant from the Vanguard Strong Start for Kids TM program. Learn more here.
CCSA Early Childhood Homelessness Activities
CCSA President Marsha Basloe presents information on early childhood homelessness. Below are recent activities.
- Increasing Access to Subsidized Child Care for Children Experiencing Homelessness at the NAEHCY Annual Conference with Laura Hewitt, NC DCDEE, and Grace Whitney, SchoolHouse Connection, on Nov. 3, 2019, in Washington D.C.
- Marsha Basloe presents at National Conference – Link to newsletter
- An Introduction to Young Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness by Grace Whitney and Marsha Basloe in the ZERO to THREE Journal – March 2019: Young Children And Families Experiencing Homelessness