This policy brief from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families(ACF) summarizes selected literature on homeless families with young children, and incorporates findings from a project prepared for ACF on the challenges facing families with young children who are temporarily staying with others or in motels/hotels. The brief examines the following questions: 1 – What are families’ current living arrangements, and do they have alternative plans for shelter if they cannot stay at their current temporary location and are unable to receive the services of a shelter? 2 – What conditions are homeless families and children exposed to when they cannot or do not access the services of a shelter? 3 – To what extent are families knowledgeable about the federally sponsored early childhood support services available to them?
Download the Access to Early Childhood Development Services for Homeless Families with Young Children: An Exploratory Project.
Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! is a coordinated federal initiative to encourage healthy child development, universal developmental and behavioral screening for children, and support for families and providers caring for young children. The initiative consolidates materials from a wide array of federal agencies and non-federal partners, and includes tools designed specifically for a variety of audiences, including housing and homeless shelter providers.
Visit the Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! website.
This resource from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families provides background information on Head Start and Early Head Start programs, shares highlights of how strong partnerships have addressed family homelessness, offers resources to encourage Head Start grantees and housing service providers to work together to expand services for children experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness, and presents resources to help providers connect families to other services they may need.
Download Building Partnerships to Address Family Homelessness.
HHS just launched a new website, ChildCare.gov. It includes a lot of helpful information for parents seeking childcare and other resources. It also includes a state-specific page with links to things like:
This joint brief from Children’s Health Watch and the Center for Housing Policy at the National Housing Conference examines the effects of the timing and duration of homelessness on young children’s health and development. According to the brief, the earlier and longer a child experiences homelessness, the greater the cumulative toll on his or her brain and body functions and the greater the likelihood he or she will suffer from a stress-related chronic disease later in life.
Download Compounding Stress: The Timing and Duration Effects of Homelessness on Children’s Health.
This 2020 report from the U.S. Department of Education compiles data from multiple sources from the 2017-18 school year to provide information on the extent of early childhood homelessness and the availability of federally-funded early childhood education for young children experiencing homelessness across the United States.
Download Early Childhood Homelessness State Profiles. (2021)
Download Early Childhood Homelessness State Profiles. (2020)
Download Early Childhood Homelessness State Profiles 2019. (June 2019)
Download Early Childhood Homelessness State Profiles 2018. (December 2018)
Download Early Childhood Homelessness in the United States: 50-State Profile. (updated Jun 2017)
Download Early Childhood Homelessness in the United States: 50-State Profile. (original, Jan 2016)
This tool from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is designed to help shelter staff members create shelter environments that are safe and developmentally appropriate for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The tool provides recommendations and information on how shelter environments, programming, policies, and staff can support early childhood safety and development.
Download the Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Shelters.
This tool, developed collaboratively by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Corporation for Supportive Housing, is designed to help supportive services and property management staff create environments and supportive services that are safe and developmentally appropriate for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The tool includes recommendations and information on how the physical spaces, programming, supportive services, policies and procedures, and staff can support early childhood safety and development.
Download the Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Supportive Housing.
This brief from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) discusses the benefits of early education home visiting programs for support families experiencing homelessness and offers several suggested models for implementing this type of program.
Download Early Education Home Visiting: Supporting Children Experiencing Homelessness.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act) and the Head Start Act, require LEAs receiving Title I funds and Head Start programs, respectively, to coordinate both with each other and other early childhood providers. This guidance from North Carolina provides a framework for developing formal memoranda of understanding (MOUs) for coordination across local programs, and may be adapted by other states to develop their own guidance.
Download ESSA Title I, Part A and Head Start Act: LEA (Local Education Agency)/Head Start Coordination Guidance.