Homelessness affects about one in every 30 children under age six in our state. These children are vulnerable to the effects of frequent moves, family stress, poverty, and lack of predictability in their lives. Stable, high quality childcare or preschool can support children’s resilience and positive development. Yet, few children experiencing homelessness are enrolled in early childhood programs and access to childcare is a barrier to parental employment and self-sufficiency.
The purpose of this project is to develop strategies to enroll more children experiencing homelessness in early childhood programs. The needs assessment work includes a statewide survey of childcare providers and focus groups with family shelter staff and early childhood programs currently serving this vulnerable group. This project is funded by Education Leads Home. Collaborators include Early Childhood Action Strategy, the Executive Office on Early Learning, and the Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network.