HopePHL has summarized homeless education reports from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the School District of Philadelphia to draw attention to critical needs. Our summary is meant to inform practitioners and policymakers about children and youth experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia.
HopePHL is continuing its series called the “Children Cannot Wait Campaign” (see https://bit.ly/3qAQGIX). The report offered today is Part 2; it explores the data specifically on Philadelphia. Last month’s newsletter delivered Part 1, showing data for Pennsylvania. Part 3 will come next month and look at homelessness by county.
The findings are cause for concern, and HopePHL intends to engage public leadership on various issues.
ACTION STEP: Help us increase awareness by sharing this report with your networks.
Guest Columnist Tracy Duarte: PA Head Start and HopePHL Release “A State-Level Brief: Participation of Infants and Toddlers Experiencing Homelessness in Early Childhood Programs in Pennsylvania”
By Tracey Duarte
Director. Pennsylvania Head Start State Collaboration Office
The PA Head Start State Collaboration Office (PA HSSCO) is excited to share our newly released report - A State-Level Brief, Participation of Infants and Toddlers Experiencing Homelessness in Early Childhood Programs in PA.
This brief builds on the earlier A State-Level Brief: Participation of Young Children Experiencing Homelessness in Early Childhood Programs in Pennsylvania (PA Head Start State Collaboration Office, January 2022) and provides a more focused examination of the experience of homelessness for infants and toddlers and their participation in early childhood programs.
I’ve had the good fortune to be able to partner and collaborate with HopePHL for the past eight years, working together to provide additional support for young children and families experiencing homelessness across the Commonwealth. I have learned so much from Joe Willard, Roslyn Edwards, Omari Bye, and others in the organization over the years and credit their partnerships and support for all of the PA HSSCO's success. I’m also grateful for the mentoring and support that I receive daily from Dr. Grace Whitney. Her work in PA has been, and continues to be, invaluable.
The COVID-19 pandemic most certainly set us back in our work and increased the urgency to identify young children experiencing homelessness and secure quality early learning services for them. We’re doing our best to collect current data and understand how the pandemic impacted our most vulnerable families and the programs that work so hard to support them. We will continue to work to heighten awareness, increase the capacity of and improve the services offered to young children and families experiencing homelessness in PA.
Action Alert – Shenanigans Afoot on Federal Budget
The United States Senate and House passed education bills supporting students experiencing homelessness that are dramatically opposed to one another. Both the Senate and the House flat-funded (no increase or decrease) education bills relating to McKinney-Vento's Education for Children and Youth (EHCY) and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA). The House decimated the Title One Part A funding by an 80% cut and eliminated Preschool Development Grants. Title One is used for tutoring, mentoring, and other services operated by homeless students. The PD grants would support Head Start to improve its services, including its outreach to homeless families.
The EHCY program supports the School District of Philadelphia. It supports over 8,000 homeless children and youth, while the RHYA provides emergency housing, outreach, and other services to Philadelphia's 1,000+ homeless youth ages 12-17.
Take Action: thanks to SchoolHouse Connection for giving us the capacity to help our readers take Action.
We thank SchoolHouse Connection for contributing to this article.
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