Newsletter (March 20, 2024)

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Today, national non-profit SchoolHouse Connection releases “Infant and Toddler Homelessness Across 50 States: 2021-2022,”the most comprehensive analysis to date of homelessness among the nation’s youngest children. This report offers the first-ever state-by-state collection of data on infant and toddler homelessness and provides detailed recommendations for policymakers and communities alike.

Key findings include:

  • 364,390 birth through age three-year-old children experienced homelessness across the United States during the 2021-2022 program year, representing approximately 2.5% of the entire birth through age three population;

  • Only 41,767, or just over 11%, of these children were enrolled in an early childhood development program, with some states serving as few as 3.5%, and others as many as 55%.

  • Of the programs for which children ages birth through age three and their parents are eligible:

    • Early Head Start enrolled an estimated 5% of infants and toddlers experiencing homelessness; 

    • Home visiting programs served an estimated 2.2% of infants and toddlers experiencing homelessness;

    • Local educational agencies served an estimated 4.2% of infants and toddlers experiencing homelessness.

  • While all states have the opportunity through Child Care Development Fund provisions and other initiatives to provide expanded access to programs and services for families experiencing homelessness, few take full advantage of the flexibilities offered to support infants, toddlers, and families experiencing homelessness:

    • 26 states waive copayments for families experiencing homelessness;

    • 9 states offer work requirement exemptions to parents experiencing homelessness;

    • 18 states provide automatic or streamlined eligibility for children experiencing homelessness to access child care programs.

“For the first time, we are able to shine a light on the extent of homelessness among infants and toddlers in all 50 states, as well as the gaps in their access to early childhood development programs. We urge practitioners and policymakers alike to dig into these data and take action, so that we can prevent long-term harm and interrupt cycles of homelessness that may start at the very beginning of life.”

Barbara Duffield, Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection

“Early childhood development programs offer a wide range of support for infants, toddlers, and families who are homeless, from essential supplies like diapers and hygiene products, to services that counter the impact of homelessness on child development. These programs also facilitate vital connections to both short- and long-term housing solutions. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that every expectant parent, infant, and toddler experiencing homelessness receives access to these essential services.”

– Erin Patterson, Director of Education Initiatives, SchoolHouse Connection

The report concludes with a call to action, offering targeted recommendations for state and federal policymakers to increase the identification of homeless families with infants and toddlers and to improve their access to critical early childhood development services and housing supports. The report also includes practical strategies for early childhood development programs that can be implemented immediately.

Please forward this report to your networks and share via social media! 

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Announcement:

📢 NEW: ‘Infant & Toddler Homelessness Across 50 States: 2021-22’ – Unveiling the most detailed examination yet of #homelessness impacting infants and toddlers. This groundbreaking analysis is the first-ever state-by-state compilation of data, shedding light on the challenges faced by our nation’s youngest children. bit.ly/3Ec8MoH 

Findings:

👶 364,390: The # of birth through age three year olds experienced #homelessness across the United States during the 2021-2022 program year. This represents ~2.5% of the entire birth through age three population. 🔗Read the new report from SchoolHouse Connection: bit.ly/3Ec8MoH 

What does infant and toddler homelessness look like in your state? A new report by SchoolHouse Connection confirms that as few as 3.5% of children birth through age three were enrolled in an early childhood development program in some states in 2021-22. This new report uses the first state-by-state collection of data to make concrete recommendations for critical action steps. 🔗Read the report: bit.ly/3Ec8MoH 

Recommendations:

Infants and toddlers experiencing homelessness are significantly under-enrolled in early childhood development programs. Removing barriers to access while increasing targeted support for these families is crucial. Looking across national and state data, the latest report by SchoolHouse Connection lays out clear and strategic recommendations on addressing this challenge head on. 🔗 Read the report: bit.ly/3Ec8MoH 

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