Center for Early Learning Professionals

Center for Early Learning Professionals

Serving Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness

Families experiencing homelessness face unique barriers to accessing quality child care. Federal regulations require states to consider homelessness a priority category for Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) eligibility.

The RI Department of Human Services and the RI Department of Children, Youth and Families have both adopted new policies for serving homeless children in child care settings. Listed below are some resources designed to help you broaden your understanding of homelessness and its effects on families and children. If you would like to receive approved professional development (PD) hours for viewing and completing the online trainings, please submit a Training Verification Form to the Center.

Interactive Learning Series: Supporting Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness

The National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement has developed a new interactive learning series to enhance your knowledge around family homelessness and the McKinney-Vento definition of “homeless” as it refers to children and youths. Review other relevant federal regulations for Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) programs.

This series includes eight modules. Each module takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. You can spend as much or as little time as needed, depending on your level of experience. A Certificate of Completion can be printed after you complete all sections of each module.

  • Overview of Family Homelessness
  • Understanding Family Homelessness
  • Understanding the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act’s Definition of “Homeless”
  • Determining a Family’s Homeless Situation
  • Identifying and Reaching Out to Families Experiencing Homelessness
  • Enhancing Program Access and Participation for Children Experiencing Homelessness
  • Building Relationships with Families
  • Connecting with Community Partners
  • Transcripts: Printable text versions of the modules
  • Resources: Helpful handouts available for download
  • Federal policies: Direct links to the federal legislation and regulations referenced in each module
  • Knowledge checks: True/false and multiple-choice activities
  • Practice scenarios: Activities offering useful guidance for program staff members serving young children and school-age children
  • Professionals in Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care programs
  • Early childhood and school-age child care providers
  • CCDF lead agency or designated entity staff
  • Other key stakeholders
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Webinar: Traumatic Childhood Experiences: Homelessness

This one-hour webinar, presented by SchoolHouse Connection in partnership with Sesame Street in Communities, provides important information on how to help children experiencing homelessness. SchoolHouse Connection is a national organization working to overcome homelessness through education, and Sesame Street in Communities provides multi-media resources for families and providers on several topics aimed to support young children’s growth and development.

Professional Development Series: Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Young Children

The Center for Early Learning Professionals offers a three-session PD series titled Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Young Children. This series provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of adverse experiences on young children and introduces strategies for working with these children in a child care setting. The sessions focus on homelessness as a significant traumatic event in young children’s lives.