Expanding Early Care and Education for Homeless Children
Ensuring the early learning and development of our country's youngest children is essential to ACF's 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.
Several federal policies and programs are in place to strengthen the ability of early care and education (ECE) providers to serve young children experiencing homelessness. Whether you are in a Head Start program, early childhood program, or work at the state level on early childhood systems and services, the resources listed below will assist you in ensuring that these young children are prioritized for services that support their learning and development.
- The Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Shelters is specifically designed to guide family shelter staff as they create a safe and developmentally appropriate environment for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
- The Guide to Developmental and Behavioral Screening for housing and shelter providers addresses the importance of developmental and behavioral screening, how to talk to parents, where to go for help, and how to select the most appropriate screening tool for the population served as well as the provider implementing the screening.
- The Early Childhood and Family Homelessness Resource List contains ACF resources and links to national organizations working to end homelessness.
Policies and Guidance
- Policies and Procedures to increase access to ECE services for homeless children and families
- Strategies for increasing ECE services for homeless children
- Definitions of Homelessness for Federal Program Serving Children, Youth, and Families chart illustrating the similarities and differences of the two major federal definitions of homelessness in use by the Department of Education in Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Act, and the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Section 103 of Subtitle I of the McKinney-Vento Act
- Promising Practices for Children Experiencing Homelessness: A Look at Two States resource paper providing a fresh look at the effects of homelessness on young children, and efforts in Massachusetts and Oregon to implement innovative policies to improve early childhood outcomes for young children experiencing homelessness
- Building Partnerships to Address Family Homelessness resource paper highlighting efforts by local Head Start and Early Head Start programs to connect with public housing associations, emergency shelter providers, local education agencies, and other community service providers