Homelessness and Head Start Reauthorization by AWH157E


									  Their Future Depends on it!

Rethinking Homelessness
 Young Homeless Children and Families:
    Strategies for Increasing Access
        to Services and Support

       National Association for the Education of
        Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)
23rd Annual Conference        Preconference Institute II
November 5, 2011                        1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
                                  Institute Presenters

Francine Hahn
  Staff Attorney
  Homeless Persons Representation Project (MD)

Mary Jane Quick, M.Ed.
  Homeless Education Liaison
  Project Connect, Columbus City Schools (OH)

Tim Stahlke
  Senior Program Coordinator
  Texas Homeless Education Office (TX)

Grace Whitney, Ph.D.,
  Head Start State Collaboration Office (CT)
                      Young Homeless Children:
                          Numbers and Trends

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

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

• The national average is 5%.
                                  The Reality of Family

• 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
• Stressed attachments to caregivers
• Invisibility
                          Developmental Delays in
                                  Young Children

Gross/Fine Motor Skills


                           Impacts of Homelessness
                                 on Young Children

• Health: homeless children are in fair to poor health
  twice as often as other children: ear infections,
  stomach problems, asthma, etc.
• Mental Health: many homeless children have mental
  health needs but are the population least likely to
  receive services.
• Development Delays: motor, sensory, language,
• Domestic Violence: majority of homeless children
  have either witnessed or experienced domestic
• Food Insecurity: Children without homes are twice as
  likely as other children to experience hunger
• School Readiness: Less likely to be enrolled in and
  regularly attend high quality preschool experiences
     Special Behavior of
Homeless Young Children

•Lack of Appropriate

•Aggressive Behavior

•Extremely Withdrawn

   Beyond Years

                          Understanding How Homelessness
                                  Affects Child Well-being –
                                           A Shelter Survey

• Children capable of verbalizing their feelings often
  express feelings of loss and longing for things
  familiar to them.

• Even though routine is especially important for
  young children, it is difficult to maintain routines in

• Despite the upset it caused, a few parents reported
  that being at the shelter was better for them since
  they felt protected from dangers previously
                        Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers
                               Experiencing Homelessness

• Infants, toddlers and preschoolers who are
  homeless have more problems with health,
  development and learning than poor young children
  who are not homeless

• Low-income children who attend Head Start and
  other high-quality preschool programs are better
  prepared to enter school than their low-income
  peers who do not attend
                                  Accessing Early Care
                                and Learning Programs

• Few families with young children (only 3 of 20 in
  2007 CT Survey) were using some type of center-
  based early care and education
• The ‘Catch 22’ of the work requirement for child
  care subsidies was mentioned often as a problem
• TANF work activity may create barrier and at same
  time opportunity to access child care subsidy for
  before/after care
• Barriers to address: limited capacity, restrictive
  enrollment criteria, inaccurate information regarding
  eligibility, accessibility and fees
                        The Impact of Homelessness
                                         on Parents

• Stress

• Parenting in public; parental loss of authority

• Not conducive to family life

• Often only services for adults not children,
  especially young children

• Instability, uncertainty for planning ahead
                                    Family Mental Health

Maternal Depression

• 85% of homeless mothers report a major episode of
  depression in past year

• Interferes with health and development beginning
  before birth

• Impacts parenting of young children

• Impairs critical early relationships

• Impairs health management (e.g. breastfeeding;
  neonatal care or managing chronic health conditions)
                                 Family Mental Health

• Impact is greater when combine with other parental
  risk, such as substance abuse, domestic violence,
  trauma, etc.

• The consequences of untreated parental mental health
  disorders can lead to school failure, and dropping out,
  substance abuse, violence and even suicide when the
  young children become older.
                            What Do all Parents Need?

• Acceptance where they are
• Focus on family strengths
   • empowering language strategies
• A comprehensive approach to family needs
   • Identifying family goals, priorities and support
   • Accessing to resources specific for children
• Support for development of independence
• Creativity and flexibility
• Understanding and respect for values, beliefs and
• TANF services include mental health, domestic
  violence counseling
                                     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.
                                    How is Homelessness
• The Head Start Act includes a definition of
  homelessness that matches the definition of
  homelessness in the education subtitle of the
  McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which
  governs public schools

• Identical definition is in the Child Nutrition Act, the
  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the
  Violence Against Women Act

• Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homeless
  programs use a more restrictive definition
                           Definition of Homelessness

• Children who “lack a fixed, regular and adequate
  nighttime residence.”
• The law lists a number of specific living situations that
  are covered.
• Other situations also may be covered, if they are not
  fixed, regular and adequate.
                           Specific covered situations

• Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing,
  economic hardship, or similar reason
   • Also called doubled-up or couch-surfing
   • 72% of homeless students identified in 2009-2010
• Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds
  due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations
   • Motels: 5% of homeless students identified in 2009-
• Living in emergency or transitional shelters
   • 19% of homeless students identified in 2009-2010
                           Specific covered situations

• Awaiting foster care placement
• Living in a public or private place not designed for
  humans to live
• Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings,
  substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar
                                   Homeless Definition:
                                       Why So Broad?
• Shelters are often full; shelters may turn families away,
  or put families on waiting lists
• Shelters do not exist in many suburban and rural areas
• Eligibility conditions of shelters often exclude families
  with boys over the age of 12
• Shelters often have 30, 60, or 90 day time limits
• Motels not available or too expensive
• Families may turn to friends or family after initial
  eviction, living in over-crowded, temporary, and
  sometimes unsafe environments
• Families may flee in crisis; unaware of alternatives
• HEARTH Act bars all HUD-funded shelters and
  transitional housing from refusing to serve families
  based on age of children
                                What do Fixed, Regular
                                 and Adequate mean?

• Fixed
   • Stationary, permanent, and not subject to change
• Regular
   • Used on a predictable, routine or consistent basis
• Adequate
   • Sufficient for meeting both the physical and
     psychological needs typically met in home
                                 From Law Into Practice

• Determining eligibility is a case-by-case
  determination made by examining the living
  arrangement of each individual student.
• Some instances will be clear-cut; others will require
  further inquiry and then a judgment call.
• It is helpful to have a system in place to guide the
  process of determining eligibility
• legal service agency may be resource to help ECE
  staff with training and reviewing policies
                                     Step 1: Get the Facts

• Incorporate a question on a standard enrollment form
  for all families; this will assist with identifying eligible
   • If the form indicates a possible homeless situation,
     refer to appropriate staff for follow up.
• Discuss the living arrangement in a private place and
  with sensitivity.
                                     Step 1: Get the Facts

• Let parents know why you are asking about their
  living situation: not to invade their privacy, but to
  offer services.
    • Describe available help.
• Do not contact landlords, etc., to probe for more
  information regarding the family’s living
                                 Step 1: Get the Facts

• Provide awareness activities for staff and
  community partners
• Avoid using the word “homeless”
   • Describe the living situation instead of
     labeling it. For example, “Are you living there
     because you lost your housing? Is this a
     temporary situation?”
                                Step 2: Analyze the Facts

• Does the family’s living arrangement fit into one of
  the specific examples of homelessness in the law?
   • If so, the family is categorically eligible for Head
     Start, certain others.
   • If not
• Does the student lack a fixed, regular and
  adequate nighttime residence?
   • If so, the student is categorically eligible for
     Head Start, certain others.
                          Step 3: “Call for Back-up”

• State/Local McKinney-Vento Liaison
• State Head Start State Collaboration Office/Local
  Head Start Grantees
• National Center on Homeless Education
  The 100 Most Frequently Asked Questions on the
  Educational Rights of Children and Youth
                                 The McKinney-Vento Act’s
                                    Education for Homeless
                                Children and Youth Program

•   Liaisons in every school district with
    responsibilities to identify homeless children,
    assist with enrollment and participation, ensure
    families receive Head Start
•   School Stability
•   Transportation
•   Immediate Enrollment
•   Enrolled During Disputes
•   Comparable Services
                          Head Start: A Perfect Match for
                                      Homeless Families

• Head Start provides comprehensive services that
  homeless children may not otherwise receive
• Head Start’s focus on the entire family means
  parents receive assistance in reaching their goals
• Community partnerships put Head Start in an
  excellent position to work with all agencies serving
  homeless families
                         Head Start Act Requirements
                            Related to Homelessness

• Homeless children are categorically eligible for
  Head Start
• Head Start programs are required to identify and
  prioritize homeless children for enrollment;
• Allow homeless children to enroll while required
  paperwork is obtained
• Coordinate with school district liaisons and other
  homeless community agencies
                              Barriers to Early Childhood
                                   Programs for 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 of ECE priority status for homelessness
• Lack available slots for all eligible children, especially
  infants and toddlers, including those who are homeless
• Lack of capacity to do outreach and targeted assistance
• High mobility
• Lack of transportation
• Lack of documentation for enrollment
                               Strategies for Awareness
                                       and Identification

• ECE programs can incorporate questions on housing
  status on applications
• McKinney-Vento liaisons can inquire about young
  siblings of school-age children
• ECE programs and liaisons can include information on
  how to recognize homelessness in staff
• Recruit where homeless families live: shelters (including
  for unaccompanied youth), motels, etc.
• Homeless service providers can document ages of all
  children at intake, and make referrals to Head Start,
  ECEAP, and other ECE programs
                               Strategies for Awareness
                                       and Identification
• 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
• Put posters, flyers, wallet cards in schools, family
  shelters, domestic violence shelters, low-cost motels,
  food banks, health clinics, employment and public
  benefits offices, social services offices, laundromats,
  and convenience stores.
                             Strategies for Awareness
                                     and Identification

•Hold family-oriented community events with
opportunities to screen infants and toddlers for health
and mental health needs and possible developmental
delays. Offer transportation, food, health services, and
other incentives and assistance to help homeless
families attend.
                            Strategies for Responding
                                            to Mobility

• Prioritize children experiencing homelessness
  on waitlists and evaluation schedules
• Include in parent handbook the importance of
  notifying the program when moving
• Develop agreements to enable young homeless
  children to maintain their slot/placement even if
  they move out of program service areas
                          Strategies for Responding to

• Explore transportation services, including gas
  voucher, reimbursement, existing systems
• Obtain parental consent for release of information
  from providers or liaison in order to 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.
                        Strategies to Expedite Access

• Liaisons and homeless service staff can provide
  Head Start/ECE applications to identified families
  and help 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)
• legal service agency may be resource to help w/
  training HUD-funded (HEARTH) staff about ECE
  programs (Part C, CCS, etc.)
                     Scenarios and Discussion

In your small group, read through the scenarios
    on your table and answer the questions.

               Scenarios #5 - #9
                                  Reflection 2

 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.
Caucus Question #1
                                Creating Partnerships

• Head Start/Early Head Start
• State Head Start Association
• Family Service Managers, Other Managers
• McKinney-Vento Liaisons
• Coalition to End Homelessness
• Legal service agencies that focus on education or
  children's issues
• Others?????
                                Creating Partnerships

• Desire to learn how other programs work

• Desire to learn more about how other programs meet
  the needs of children and families

• Opportunity to connect resources to provide more
  comprehensive services
                               Fostering Collaborative

•   Commitment
•   Time
•   Sharing of Resources
•   Shared Goals and Objectives
•   Have the capacity to see “one” program, although
    served by multiple agencies
                    Moving Toward

•   Networking
•   Cooperation
•   Coordination
•   Coalition
•   Collaboration

• Loosely defined roles

• Little communication

• All decisions are made independently

• Provides information to one another

• Somewhat defined roles

• Formal communication

• All decisions are made independently

• Share information and resources

• Defined roles

• Frequent communication

• Some shared decision making

• Share ideas

• Share resources

• Frequent and prioritized communication

• All members have a vote in decision making

• Members belong to one system

• Frequent communication is characterized by mutual

• Consensus is reached on all decisions
                         Formalizing Agreements

• Memorandum of Understanding “MOU”

• Partner-Agency Agreements
                               Components of an MOU

• Vision – A short statement that articulates an alternative
  view of the community and answers the question of what
  it would look like if the group “got it right.”
• Mission – a short statement that describes how the
  collaborative sees their work contributing to a vision.
• Values and Assumptions – A short list with a brief
  explanation of key points of agreement regarding
  domestic and/or sexual violence.
• Structure of the Collaboration – Explains how the
  collaboration will be structured, such aswho will chair the
  collaboration, the use of subcommitties or other relevant
• Roles and Responsibilities – This section should
  articulate the expectations for participation, such as who
  will participate, what it means to participate and specific
  responsibilities for partners in the collaboration.
                                     Components cont.

• Communication Practices – This section explicitly
  describes how communication will occur and may include
  items such as communication between meetings and
  recording and distribution of minutes.
• Confidentiality Expectations – A brief statement regarding
  what, if any, of the collaboration work is intended to be
  confidential, what is meant by confidentiality and how
  potential exceptions to confidentiality will be handled.
• Decision-Making Processes –A section explaining how
  decisions will be made and any additional decision-making
• Conflict Resolution Process – This section articulates a
  specific process of how conflicts among collaborative
  members will be resolved.
• Communication Plan – Describes how communication with
  the media on behalf of the collaborative will be handles,
  should the occasion arise.
                                     Benefits of Effective

•   Increased opportunities for young children
•   Shared decision making and responsiblites
•   Enhanced Commitment to Serve Families
•   Potential access to creativity and creative problem
•   New and expanded working relationships
•   Power in Numbers
•   Louder Voice to power Brokers
•   Less Bureaucracy
•   Increased Skills for children and increased
    professional skills for staff
                               Partnerships to benefit
                             Young Homeless Children

• When working with families, inquire about the
  possibility of having younger children not in
  primary education
• Partner with family shelter agencies to identify
  young children
• Develop community awareness of who is eligible-
  including Pre-K children
• Participate in community early childhood program
  outreach activities, parent fairs, school open
• Provide professional development to early
  childhood education programs
                               Partnerships to benefit
                             Young Homeless Children

• Connect with local Child Care Resource and Referral
  Agency in your community

• CCRRs can educate staff on the local childcare
  landscape in your community
                         Early Care and Education

• Head Start & Early
  Head Start

• Child Care


• State Pre-

• Other Early Care and
  Education Partners
                 Knowing YOUR Landscape

Using the grid that has been handed
out to you, fill in the boxes for your
        community partners.
                               Sharing Resources and

• Program locations, contact lists, emails
   • Head Start, Early Head Start,
   • McKinney-Vento Liaisons in LEA’s,
   • Family Shelters, Transitional Living, Supportive
   • Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse Treatment
   • Preschool/Child Care/IDEA
   • Others?
• Conference & meeting schedules; publications
                                        Team Development

Educating all on the landscape of partnership

•   Who are the partners?
•   What do they call themselves?
•   Who are the point people?
•   How can I contact them?
•   What to they do?
•   What resources do they have?
•   How can I access their resources?
•   How can we help one another?
                                         Team Development

• Inviting potential partners, assigned seating

• Time/visits, process for “Getting to Know You”

• Structured, facilitated team-building opportunities

• Requiring partners for participation – who’s missing?

• Teams work, team assignments, team time for meetings,
  follow-up activities
                                Reflection 3

 Take a moment to reflect on existing and
potential resources in your community and
 how you could create new relationships to
support the work you are doing. Jot down a
   phrase or two to record your thoughts.
                                       Cross Training

• Cross-system orientation

• McKinney-Vento training

• Early childhood training

• Mental health and trauma

• Safe Families, Safe Homes; Strengthening Families,

• Others?
                        Cross-sector Administration

• Data collection and sharing

• Serving together on advisories, committees

• Circulating one another’s information

• MOUs – add what MJ sent -- #10
                       Procedural and Policy Change

Change policies and practices of own program
• data collection
• referral procedures
   • language on forms, prioritization
• others?

Work together to change local, state policy
• e.g., child care vouchers
• enrollment barriers
• Others?

• Federally-funded block grant program to provide cash
  assistance to low-income families with children
• Pregnant women without other children qualify
• Participation in work activity program mandatory with
  some exceptions

• TANF recipient with child under 6 years old cannot be
  sanctioned if 20 hours of work activity completed each
• Homelessness may be considered a “family crisis”
  and basis to be excused from work activity
• Other reasons to be excused from work activity:
  domestic violence, illness, disability, no
  transportation, etc.

            Where should programs begin?

PIR - Head Start already serves
  homeless families

   •   total families served
   •   homeless families served
   •   total children served
   •   homeless children served
   •   families acquiring housing

• Include data about homeless children in community

• Conduct self-assessments to determine strengths
  and weaknesses regarding services to homeless

• Contact local school district homeless education
  liaisons, and others to obtain data
                       Community Assessment Data

Sample questions for community needs assessments:

• How many families are homeless?
• What efforts are made to identify them?
• What are the trends?
• Where do homeless families stay?
• What is the level of employment of homeless
• What is the availability of child care?
• What resources exist in the community?
• What task forces or coalitions exist?
                       Community Assessment Data

• What additional state or school-district preschool
  programs exist? How do they serve homeless
• What transportation resources exist in the community
  that could be tapped?
• Who are the homeless education liaisons in the
  communities in the service area? What do the
  homeless education programs look like?
• What state child care licensing policies exist that
  might encourage or, conversely, pose barriers to
  enrolling and serving homeless children?
                                    Collaborative Planning

• Engage as partners in natural planning processes and
  activities of programs
   • Head Start Policy Council and Advisories
   • Head Start Community Assessment
• Building in planning time at collaborative events
• Work together on local plans
   • Continuum of Care, annual point-in-time count
   • Early Childhood Councils
• Work together on State plans
   • McKinney-Vento, Head Start Collaboration, Child Care,
      MCHB Home Visiting, Others?
• the most direct way to affect policy changes at the local level
  is to participate in the CCDF planning process which occurs
  every 2 years; example-- push for priority for homeless
  families to get CCS
Data Sharing and Planning

   • Share data on
     everywhere you go......

   • Make sure data on the
     needs of young
     children experiencing
     homelessness is
     included everywhere
     you go......
                                         Monitor Data -
                                    Address Challenges

Example: Attendance
• Inconsistent attendance;
   • Parental consent to obtain forwarding address to
     continue participation, transition to another Head Start
• High turnover
   • Fluid wait list, enrollment documents complete
• Must document specific challenges of serving homeless
• Full enrollment – if falls below, must document and analyze
• 2007 Head Start Act has attendance waiver if program can
  show significant population of highly mobile children such
  as homeless and foster care
                           Attendance Challenges and
   Challenges                       Strategies
Lack of             Community and school district
transportation      collaboration, home-based models

High mobility       Allow child to remain in program, when in
                    his/her best interest, when family moves;
                    include in parent handbook the importance
                    of notifying program when moving

Lack of full-day    Assist families to access child care
program and child   subsidy, family child care model,
care                community collaboration

TANF                Work activity may create barrier and at
                    same time opportunity to access child care
                    subsidy for before/after care
                        Special Projects

• Cross-sector survey

• Grant partnerships

• Others?
Caucus Question #2
                               Greater Visibility of Young
                              Children who are Homeless
• Bringing comprehensive services to children and
  families who need them

• Creating forums for working through barriers to service

• Including housing providers in the early childhood

• Insuring better health and school readiness of low-
  income children

• Timely focus of Race to the Top!
                                    Lessons Learned

• Consistency, perseverance

• When one door closes another always opens – find the
  path to shared action

• Continue to engage new partners

• Find ways to support providers and keep homelessness
  a high priority for all

• Circle around again and again and again

• Stay informed and inform others
  The Path Taken

            Many paths lead to the same place!

Every community is different and the point of entry can be
    through many doors to achieve a shared goal........

            All children healthy and successful
                     in school and life.
Implementation Planning
                                 Reflections to Actions

1.   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

2.   Share your Action Plan with another person, or two,
     or three.....
        Scenarios and Debriefing

Scenarios #5 - #9
                                   Resources - ECLKC

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

Go to: Training and Technical Assistance System:

From there, go to Parent, Family, and Community

From there, go to Crisis Support

From there, go to Homelessness Online Lessons

• National Association for the Education of Homeless
  Children and Youth
   • http://www.naehcy.org
• National Center on Homeless Education
   • http://www.serve.org/nche
• National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center
   • http://www.nectac.org
• Horizons for Homeless Children
   • http://www.horizonsforhomelesschildren.org
• Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP
   -- http://wsaheadstarteceap.com
• Parent Training and Information Centers
   • http://www.taalliance.org/centers/index.htm
   • (888) 248-0822
                                 Additional Resources

• NCHE’s preschool page:
• McKinney-Vento full text and Policy Guidance:
• Project HOPE’s publications page:
  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
          Challenges / Solutions --

Nothing will work if YOU don’t

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