Preschool Aged Homeless Children in Mississippi

Preschool Aged Homeless
Children in Mississippi:
Removing Barriers to their
Diana Bowman
National Center for Homeless Education
Helpline: 800-308-2145 or homeless
Get to Know NCHE
 NCHE is the U.S. Department of Education’s homeless education
technical assistance and information center
 NCHE has
 A comprehensive website:
 A toll-free helpline: Call 800-308-2145 or e-mail
 A listserv: Visit for
subscription instructions
 Free resources: Visit
 Homeless Liaison Toolkit (2013 edition):
Importance of Preschool Services for
Homeless Children
 50% of homeless children in shelters are under the
age of 5.
 Research in neuroscience indicates that poverty and
stress in babies can irreversibly alter brain
 Early detection and intervention of developmental
problems can impact future school success.
 Preschool and other early childhood services can
mitigate the impacts of homelessness and ensure that
developmental and health problems are addressed
What do Young Homeless Children
Safe, orderly environment – eliminate toxic stress
Love and attention
Basic needs met: food, sleep, warmth
Medical attention: illness, developmental delays
Stimulation (being read to, engaged in conversation)
McKinney-Vento and Young
Homeless Children
 Local liaisons must ensure that homeless children
receive educational services for which they are
eligible, including Head Start and Even Start, and
preschool programs administered by the school
 Local liaisons must provide homeless children with
referrals to health care, dental, mental health, and
other appropriate services.
 School districts may use subgrant funds to provide
developmentally appropriate early childhood
education programs for homeless children.
McKinney-Vento and Young
Homeless Children
 State Plans must establish procedures that ensure
that homeless children have equal access to public
preschool programs administered by the state
education agency
 Mississippi State Plan
Allowable Uses of Title I, Part A
 Preschool-aged homeless children are automatically
eligible for Title I preschools.
 School districts should prioritize access to Title I
preschool programs for homeless preschool-aged
 School districts may utilize Title I, Part A funds set
aside for homeless students to provide services for
preschool-aged homeless children, such as
 Screenings for developmental delays or
 Developmentally appropriate educational activities.
Data Collection
 School districts are required to collect data annually
on number of preschool-aged homeless children
(ages 3-5, not kindergarten) that are
 Enrolled in public preschool programs and
 Are served with subgrant funds in LEAs receiving
 LEAs receiving subgrants must collect data on
children (ages 0-2) who are served through the LEA
What This Means for School Districts
 School districts should make every effort to identify
and serve preschool-aged homeless children.
 Preschool-aged homeless children should be enrolled
immediately in programs in the district for which they
are eligible even if the family does not have records.
What This Means for School Districts
 Because preschool is not considered compulsory
education, programs that are at legal capacity are not
required to enroll homeless children, but should prioritize
them on a waiting list.
 The U.S. Department of Education does not require school
of origin transportation for preschool-aged homeless
children; however, some SEAs and LEAs enable these
children to continue in their programs despite a residential
move that would affect enrollment.
Importance of Collaboration
Creates awareness of one another’s
Joint trainings, sharing data and
Provides an opportunity to share or
leverage resources
Joint needs assessments, identify common
needs, joint resource document,
memorandum of agreement
Demonstrates strong, unified
Serve on task forces to create awareness of
needs of young homeless children
Creates easy access for parents to
multiple programs
Create a system of referrals, have
enrollment forms available at each program
Early Learning Collaborative Act of
 On December 20, 2014 the Mississippi Board of
Education awarded competitive Early Learning
Collaborative funding to 11 collaboratives over the
next 3 years
 Purpose: to support and facilitate the implementation
of voluntary prekindergarten (preK) programs
Mississippi Early Learning
 Clarke County Early Learning
 Coahoma County Pre-K Collaborative Initiative
 Corinth-Alcorn Prentiss Early Learning Collaborative
 DeSoto County Early Learning Collaborative
 Gilmore Early Learning Initiative Collaborative
 Lamar County Early Learning Collaborative
 McComb Community Collaborative for Early Learning Success
 Petal Early Learning Collaborative
 Picayune School District
 Sunflower County Early Learning Collaborative
 Tallahatchie Early Learning Alliance
Contact Deputy Director of Policy Angela Bass at Mississippi First
by e-mail at or by phone
at 601.398.9008
Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act (IDEA)
 Part C requires representation of the homeless State
Coordinator on the Interagency Coordinating Council;
Child Find identifies and evaluates children with
disabilities, including homeless children
 Part B serves preschool-aged children with disabilities
ages 3-5.
MS Early Intervention (IDEA, Part C)
 Programs for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities: Ages
Birth through 2
 First Steps Early Intervention System
Mississippi Department of Health
PO Box 1700, 570 E. Woodrow Wilson, Jackson, MS 39215
 Susan Boone, Part C Coordinator
800- 451-3903 in MS
Head Start and Early Head Start
 Programs are required to serve young homeless children,
prioritize them for enrollment, and enroll them even when
records are not present
 McKinney-Vento definition of homeless
 Requires collaboration with school district homeless
 In 2009-2010, national data show that nearly 4% of Head
Start families were homeless; in MS, .5% were identified as
homeless (Institute for Children, Poverty, & Homelessness)
HUD (Housing and Urban
Development funded programs)
 Required to coordinate with school districts and Head
Start programs;
 MS programs:
Early Childhood Programs
 Child Care and Development Fund oversees grant
funds to states for providing low-income working
families with affordable, high-quality early care and
after-school programs
 Annual public hearing: advocate for prioritizing
homeless families for childcare support
 Home Visiting Programs
 Help for parents
 Can be an alternative when preschool programs are full
To Dos for Local Liaisons
 Identify resources for preschool aged homeless
children in your school district.
 Link with other programs to create a coordinated
approach to serving preschool-aged homeless
children, create awareness
 Develop a “Collaboration Landscape”
To Dos for Local Liaisons
 Train school staff in identifying preschool-aged
homeless children.
 Help staff understand the needs and rights of young
homeless children.
NCHE Resource: Early Care and Education for Young
Homeless Children
To Dos for Local Liaisons
Share a new resource from the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services Birth to 5:Watch Me Thrive
 A Housing and Shelter Provider’s guide to
Developmental and Behavioral Screening at
To Dos for Local Liaisons
 Collect data on the number of preschool-aged
homeless students.
 Determine if this number is consistent with the level of
poverty in your area and estimated high percentage of
young children among all children who experience
 Compare with number of young children experiencing
homelessness in Head Start, HUD programs
To Dos for Local Liaisons
 Discuss the needs of preschool-aged homeless
children with your Title I coordinator and ensure that
 Services are covered in the Part A set aside for homeless
children and
 Homeless children are prioritized for enrollment in Title I
preschool programs.
To Dos for Local Liaisons
 Contact an Early Learning Collaborative in your area
 Discuss how with administrators how they can identify
and prioritize services for young homeless children
 Ensure they understand the definition of homeless
 Share the NCHE brief with them
For More Information
 Contact Barbara Greene –
 Contact NCHE – or 800-318-2145
 NCHE web page on preschool homeless children:
 NAEHCY web page on preschool homeless children:
26th Annual NAEHCY Conference
Only national conference that focuses
specifically on educating homeless children and
youth: Pre-k, K-12, Higher Education