Young children experiencing homelessness are at increased risk of poor health and academic outcomes, and the experience of homelessness can disrupt a child’s development, resulting in persistent developmental delays. The Pennsylvania Head Start State Collaboration Office (HSSCO) and the People's Emergency Center, in partnership with Grace Whitney, PhD, MPA, IEMHE, have released two reports which provide data and highlight this issue for Pennsylvania children.
Continuums of Care and Head Start Working Together to Address Housing Vulnerability of Pennsylvania's Families contains information and key data on children and families enrolled in Head Start who are experiencing homelessness and seeking housing assistance, in Pennsylvania. This report includes Head Start data for the 2018-2019 program year (school year). This report also presents Head Start data for each of Pennsylvania’s 16 Continuum of Care (CoC) regions.
A State-Level Brief, Participation of Young Children Experiencing Homelessness in Early Childhood Programs in Pennsylvania contains data from the early childhood and housing service sectors. Throughout the brief there are multiple examples of the challenges presented by the way data is defined and collected not only across service sectors but in the various early childhood programs.
The PA HSSCO and People’s Emergency Center are hosting a forum on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, 10 AM to 11:30 AM, via Zoom, to explain the new report on Head Start and Continuums of Care and offer insight from local leadership from rural, suburban, and urban regions.
The forum will feature a panel of practitioners discussing strategies to increase enrollment and new data showing the prevalence of children experiencing homelessness enrolled into Head Start, according to the CoC regions. Moderators include Tracy Duarte, Director of PA HSCCO, and Joe Willard of People's Emergency Center.
Panelists will include:
- Tiffany Jones of the Center for Community Action, which covers Bedford / Huntingdon / Fulton counties in the Eastern PA Continuum of Care and in the Early Learn Resource Center (ELRC) #6.
- Tabitha Kramer of Region 2 of the Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness. Region 2 covers Berks, Chester, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Schuylkill counties. Region 2 identifies more children experiencing homelessness than any other region in Pennsylvania.
- A leader from the ELRC #18 (Philadelphia) to be named.
- A local Head Start agency to be named.
Click here to register for the forum.