Early Childhood

Connecting Our Youngest Children to Early Childhood Partners

A resource dedicated to connecting young children experiencing homelessness with vital early childhood development programs and resources.

new study found that the people who are the most at risk of eviction are babies and toddlers, putting their health and development at risk.

Preventing eviction and prioritizing expectant parents and families with young children for housing assistance is imperative. At the same time, early childhood development programs play a critical role in mitigating the traumatic impacts of homelessness on young children, while also providing developmentally appropriate learning opportunities, family support — and connections to housing. less than 5% of young children experiencing homelessness are enrolled in a Head Start, Early Head Start, or local educational agency preschool program. Finding families experiencing homelessness with young children and connecting them to early childhood development programs is not only important, but it’s also a required duty of school district homeless education liaisons.

For the next twelve months, there is additional funding available to help find families experiencing homelessness with young children and connect them to early childhood development programs!

In a recent Dear Colleague Letter released on September 12th, the U.S. Department of Education communicated the urgent need to spend American Rescue Plan Homeless Children & Youth Funds (ARP-HCY). Additionally, they clarified some of the allowable uses of funds, including for early childhood education of young children under age six who are experiencing homelessness. This means that state education agencies and local education agencies may use their ARP-HCY funds for the following activities:

This is great news for homeless education liaisons, early childhood development providers, families, and the one million children under age six who are experiencing homelessness across the US.

But SchoolHouse Connection has been receiving one common question from homeless liaisons: how do I know who those partners are?

If you are a homeless liaison, it can be difficult to locate your early childhood partners and understand which program(s) a child might be eligible for. Here are some helpful resources:

Home Visiting services are available to expectant and new parents of infants and toddlers. You can find a home visiting program in your state through this directory. Common home visiting program models include Family Connects, Healthy Families, America, Nurse Family Partnerships, Parents as Teachers, and many others. Check your state’s profile to see what’s offered in your area.


Home Visiting for Homeless Families

💡Using ARP-HCY Funds for Early Childhood Education

For more information and ideas on using ARP-HCY funds for early childhood education, check out our Flexing the Flexibility series.

💡State Spotlight

The state of North Carolina recently unveiled an action plan for Early Childhood Homelessness that provides a detailed guide to ensure that children in our state who are homeless receive all early childhood resources and services available in their communities.