Early Childhood

Referring Young Children to Early Childhood Development Programs: Checklist for Homeless Liaisons

Use this checklist as a guide for ensuring young children experiencing homelessness are enrolled.

Download the Checklist

As the back-to-school rush gets underway, school district homeless liaisons are busy working on outreach to families in the community, ensuring students are identified, and securing all the items necessary for immediate enrollment and attendance. 

But what about the younger siblings of school-aged children? Early childhood development programs such as Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, Early Intervention, and Home Visiting can mitigate the traumatic effects of homelessness, preventing long-term developmental delays and academic struggle.

Yet many families experiencing homelessness face barriers when trying to access these programs. In fact, less than 5% of children experiencing homelessness are enrolled in Head Start, Early Head Start, or a district-funded program. Homeless liaisons have a responsibility under the McKinney-Vento Act to identify and refer younger children to early learning programs and are uniquely positioned to make those connections, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Use this checklist as a guide for ensuring young children experiencing homelessness are enrolled.

1. Identifying Younger Children Experiencing Homelessness

2. Referring Younger Children to Early Childhood Development Programs

3. Reporting and Follow-up