As this academic year continues to move forward, we acknowledge the changes we see all around us. Every change that occurs impacts education for our children and youth experiencing homelessness. As we move into the next year, it is important to have some understanding of the issues our children face every day. Getting an education involves ensuring that the opportunities for all students are available to them to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Focusing on Infants and Toddlers Experiencing Homelessness
While we tend to focus on students in kindergarten through grade 12, it is important that we understand the impact on homelessness when it is experienced by infants and toddlers aged 0 to 3. Nevada has approximately 6,825 infants and toddlers currently experiencing homelessness. Of these children, only 325 are enrolled in Childcare, Early Head Start, and Home Visiting programs. Please read this report provided by Schoolhouse Connections for more information about the key findings from a study conducted across 20 states in which Nevada participated. Recommendations for removing barriers and providing increased outreach, identification, and supports for children and families.
Combating Homelessness and Chronic Absenteeism
The landscape of education has changed and school districts across the nation have to contend with chronic absenteeism as a result of the pandemic and the adjustment to online and hybrid learning models.
It is imperative to understand homelessness and how each variable impacts a student and their ability to be successful in school. This means shedding a light on factors such as enrollment trends, types of nighttime residences, demographic subgroups, as well as race and ethnicity. While this report provides key findings, it is important to also understand that youth who are members of the LGBTIA+ community and those who are teen parents or pregnant teens experience homelessness at 9-10% above the commonly reported subgroups.
Children and youth experiencing homelessness have a tendency to have higher rates of chronic absenteeism for various reasons. In order to find the best solutions to combat issues, there have been some recommendations provided to address it in the following report: Chronic Absenteeism among Homeless Students in America (ed.gov).
As we close out one year and usher in the next, our mission remains clear—to remove barriers for children and youth experiencing homelessness. We must remain vigilant and hopeful because we are the vanguard and the guiding force that creates the spaces for our students to thrive.
Save the Date: McKinney-Vento & Foster Care (Virtual) Summit, April 20, 2023