Supporting Young Children Experiencing Homelessness in Pennsylvania

We are excited to announce the release of new resources detailing policies and strategies for supporting young children experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania!

Best Practices in Early Care and Education for Young Children Experiencing Homelessness, written as part of the William Penn Foundation-funded Building Early Links for Learning (BELL) project, documents existing approaches and opportunities for serving young children experiencing homelessness in early education programs. The paper details the scope and distribution of young child homelessness in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, and includes actionable recommendations for local and state agencies, as well as for organizations serving the homeless, and for early care and education programs as they work with young children experiencing homelessness and their families. 

A companion piece provides supplementary data on early child homelessness, including a series of maps, charts, and graphs that help to contextualize where Pennsylvania stands in relation to other states in the U.S. View the infographic here. 

Our hope is that these pieces will serve to inform ongoing early care and education systems reform, including:

• Instituting policies to ensure that young children experiencing homelessness are prioritized for service in PHLpreK and other publicly supported early care and education programs, and that they receive comprehensive, high-quality services that address their needs;

• Enhancing collaboration between homeless-serving organizations and early care and education programs, including increased awareness of young children’s developmental needs in the processes and physical features of homeless-serving organizations; and more familiarity with supportive housing systems among early care and education staff; and

• Appropriate case management and other dual-generation services that assist the parents of young children experiencing homelessness with obtaining stable housing and employment, and support their ongoing health and educational needs. 

For additional information on the intersection of homelessness and early care and education, we encourage you to visit the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)’s website and explore their resources page

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) has just released a brief on the impact of homelessness on young children as well.