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Serving Young Children With Disabilities Who Are Homeless: IDEA and McKinney-Vento Hand in Hand National Early Childhood Conference December 12, 2005 Diana.

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Presentation on theme: "Serving Young Children With Disabilities Who Are Homeless: IDEA and McKinney-Vento Hand in Hand National Early Childhood Conference December 12, 2005 Diana."— Presentation transcript:

1 Serving Young Children With Disabilities Who Are Homeless: IDEA and McKinney-Vento Hand in Hand National Early Childhood Conference December 12, 2005 Diana Bowman, National Center for Homeless Education Patricia A. Popp, Project HOPE-Virginia

2 Young children who are homeless face many challenges: Inadequate or unstable housing Inconsistent and inadequate health care Inadequate nutrition Adolescent mothers Disrupted or limited family support Emotional stress or depression

3 Homeless and special needs These conditions can have far-reaching negative impacts on a child and compounding impacts on a child with special needs 54% of children in homeless situations experience some form of developmental delay 40% of children living in homeless shelters are under the age of five

4 How does IDEA serve young children who are homeless? The State must ensure that all students with disabilities residing in the State who need special education are identified, located, and evaluated; this requirement specifically applies to students experiencing homelessness, including infants and toddlers Any state receiving a Part C grant must make early intervention services available to infants and toddlers with disabilities who are homeless and their families

5 In the report language accompanying Part C, Congress stated that states should conduct public awareness programs about the Part C program in homeless family shelters, health service offices, public schools, and the child welfare system Any state receiving a Part C grant must establish a State Interagency Coordinating Council, which must include a representative of the State McKinney-Vento Coordinator

6 Who is homeless? IDEA now contains a definition of homeless children to include any children or youth considered homeless under McKinney-Vento

7 Definition of homeless children under McKinney-Vento: Individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations Living in emergency or transitional shelters Abandoned in hospitals Awaiting foster care placement Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing Migratory children who qualify as homeless

8 What does the McKinney-Vento Act ensure? Immediate enrollment and full participation in classes Access to programs and support School stability Child-centered best interest decision making

9 How is the McKinney-Vento Act implemented? Every state has a State Coordinator for homeless education Every school district has a Local Liaison · Identifies homeless children and youth · Assists with enrollment and services, including preschool · Provides training to school and district staff · Creates community awareness and outreach · Helps parents be meaningfully involved · Collaborates with programs within the school district · Collaborates with agencies and service providers

10 How does the McKinney-Vento Act apply to preschool-aged children? Homeless children have equal access to the same public preschool programs Preschool programs administered by SEAs or LEAs must comply with all provisions of the Act * This includes LEA preschool grants under Section 619 State MV plans must describe procedures that ensure children who are homeless have access to preschool programs

11 What about preschool programs not administered by the SEA or LEA? Not bound by law to enroll homeless students, but many coordinate with LEAs to serve the students and make accommodations as they are made aware of needs of homeless students The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a memo in 1992 that described how Head Start grantees should collaborate with homeless education programs and adjust their priorities and programs to serve homeless children

12 Challenges facing young homeless children related to attending early childhood programs: Lack of preschool availability Waiting lists Lack of awareness of preschools on the part of homeless parents Lack of identification of preschool-aged children; lack of outreach to families, shelters, agencies Barriers related to enrollment, attendance, transportation Inflexible policies and structures Lack of parent involvement strategies

13 How can McKinney-Vento and IDEA collaboration benefit young homeless children with disabilities? Child Find and identification Awareness of challenges homeless parents and children face Serving young children with disabilities who are living doubled up Coordination with shelters and service providers through established relationships Best interest decision making State and local MV staff on the State Interagency Coordinating Council ensures coordination of policies and services

14 A State Response Virginia With the assistance of a 619 Grant

15 Key Collaborators Special Education personnel State Local Parent Training and Information Centers Protection and advocacy centers

16 Activities Sharing mailing lists Interagency participation (ECEN) Presentations/HOPE display at state conferences; EC invited to HOPE Seminar Intro to Special Ed Workshops in shelters Special 619 Summer Project Surveys Publications

17 Virginia Projects Purpose: Targeted services to young children eligible for ECSE and their families in homeless situations Developmentally appropriate toys, books, and other resources in shelters Shelter and parent training New networks

18 We learned so much this summer as a team… About homelessness, about flexibility, about opportunity, about ourselves We’re refreshed, renewed, have new resolve Our homeless students’ circumstances are different – but not their needs Norfolk Team

19 Virginia Survey Purpose Focus on children below kindergarten age with developmental delays/disabilities experiencing homelessness Understand services providers’ perspectives about needs & resources Participants Early Childhood Educators, Shelter Providers, Homeless Education Liaisons 185 responded

20 Early Childhood Educators 97 responded 13,042 young children served 508 identified as homeless

21 Educators: Challenges Identification Family transience Emotionality Communication with families Attendance Housing Transportation Adequate resources Awareness Inconsistent instruction/related services Parental focus Trust Records Language barriers

22 Educators: Resources Social services Shelters Local interagency collaboration School staff Local charities Community services board Transportation Trained educators Family support for long range planning Child Find

23 Shelter Providers 55 responded 1597 young children served 145 identified with delay/disability 401 suspected to have delay/disability

24 Shelter providers: Challenges Long wait time No follow through More resources needed Transportation Families’ short time in shelter Family cooperation Cost & accessibility of resources Parents unaware of problem Medical insurance Housing Right contact Language barrier

25 Shelter providers: Resources Head Start School personnel Infant and child development services Social services Community service boards Health department Child Find Child development clinic Physicians Mental health & counseling Early intervention

26 Homeless Education Liaisons 33 responded 4239 young children served 1625 young children identified with developmental delay/disability 150 young children identified as homeless

27 Liaisons: Challenges Identification Communication with families Family participation Transience Housing Family support for child’s development Interagency collaboration Available resources Transportation Employment stability Immunization policies Family physical & emotional needs

28 Liaisons: Resources Interagency collaboration Social services Health department Social workers Shelters Project HOPE Information packets Head Start

29 Common Themes Many issues similar to school age children Child Find (identification) is critical Essential for EI & comprehensive services Collaboration across agencies Timelines Expedited evaluations & service initiation Connections with families Training for all providers about unique issues Developmentally-focused supports for families

30 Resources NASDSE ( – pdf available) Project FORUM (1999 proceedings) 2004 QTA Brief CEC CEC Today – March 2003 Project HOPE-VA ( Information briefs – special ed., ECSE NAEHCY, NCHE and NLCHP Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004: Provisions for Children and Youth with Disabilities Who Experience Homelessness;

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