PEC and BELL logos and the words BELL Newsletter
November 2020
Make Your Heart Smile!
In keeping with PEC’s theme of giving thanks in November and December, here is a video thanking our friends at William Penn Foundation, Vanguard, and Reinvestment Fund for the support of sending Lakeshore activity kits to all children ages 0-5 in shelter during the summer (click on the image to connect to 1-minute video).
PA Head Start Collaboration Office Supports Shelter Tech Needs
The Pennsylvania Early Childhood Homelessness Task Force identified the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family homeless shelters in Pennsylvania as having the lack of access to technology.

As a result, key partner Pennsylvania Head Start State Collaboration Office funded fifty-nine family homeless shelters across PA were awarded technology grants, including PEC and many other shelters in Philadelphia.

A big 'thank you' to Tracy Duarte, the HS Collaboration Office Director.

The Words Shout Out With Colorful Cloud
Map of Pennsylvania
Enrollment Party Flyer with Image of Girl with Microscope
In October, BELL held its first ever virtual enrollment party on Zoom!! We partnered with Health Federation Early Head Start (EHS) to conduct this event where housing program staff and families gathered together in a virtual space. Participants learned about the EHS program and how they’ve adapted their services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Questions were asked and answered and we deployed small breakout groups, so parents could begin the enrollment process in a more private setting. Three new referrals resulted from the event!

Parent Workshop Flyer with Images of Frog, Girl, and Woman with Mask
PA Exceeds National Experience in Enrolling Children Experiencing Homelessness into Head Start
Logo PA Head Start State Collaboration Office (HSSCO)
The Head Start program offers a promise to children experiencing homelessness. Providing education, health, socio-emotional support, and parenting education, Head Start prepares its children for school readiness as evidence has documented over the past forty years.

Examining data from the state, PEC published a policy brief to support advocacy aiming to convince policymakers to increase support for Head Start. This paper offers some data on the prevalence of homeless children who were enrolled into Head Start in Pennsylvania and in the five counties that make up southeastern Pennsylvania.

Thanks to the PA Head Start Collaboration Office for sharing the data.

Action Steps

PEC recommends contacting Senators Robert Casey and Patrick Toomey to demand support for the House COVID Relief package, which includes $1.7 billion for Head Start. The Senate is expected back in session on November 9.

Here is their contact info:

Senator Casey:

Twitter: @SenBobCasey

Senator Toomey:

Twitter: @SenToomey
Bar Chart Demonstrating that PA has 6.09% Head Start Enrollments among Children Experiencing Homelessness this year, compared to 5.20% nationally.  Growth in head start demonstrated overall from 2.5% in 2009 to present .
Darlene Morris - Yay Babies Award
BELL recognized Darlene Morris as a Yay Babies awardee.

Darlene has been a tireless supporter of young children who experience homeless.

Darlene is pictured here holding her plaque, and is surrounded by her wonderful staff.

Congratulations, Darlene!
Darlene Morris pictured with her Yay Babies Award and her staff.
Register for Children's Work Group Conference Discussion on 'Family Support Needs Assessment'
Register now for the November 20th Children's Work Group Early Childhood Conference at this

The Conference will be from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM.

The agenda includes a discussion on PA's new statewide report reflecting county-level needs on maternal , child and community health issues in its "Family Support Needs Assessment."

The assessment, which was developed in partnership with PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and OCDEL, found that substance use, intimate partner violence and mental health challenges are among the most pronounced issues facing young families across urban and rural communities and shows overall improvement in maternal and child health outcomes across many of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties since the last statewide needs assessment in 2014.
Confirmed panelists will emphasize the report's content specific to Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania. The panelists include:

  • Karen-Grimm Thomas, Director of External Relations, PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).
  • Maternity Care Coalition
  • Erin Blair, RN, Nurse Family Partnership
  • Tara Dechert, CHOP Policy Lab

Graph: No. Children Served by PHL OHS 2019-2020. Emergency: 998 under age 5; 1,030 ages 6-12; 377 ages 13-17. Permanent supportive 205 under age 5; 448 ages 6-12; 269 ages 13 to 17. Transitional 310 under age 5; 188 age6-12; 39 ages 13-17.
3,864 children & youth served in three homeless housing programs
PEC is releasing a new report on the number of children who resided at least one night in emergency, transitional, or permanent supportive housing in fiscal year 2020 in Philadelphia.

A key takeway is that the Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services is a significant provider of support for Philadelphia's homeless children.

Young Child Playing Xylophone
Childhood Begins At Home Campaign
Evidence-based home visiting programs recognize parents are children’s first teachers, but sometimes even parents and others raising children look for help. Far too many of Pennsylvania’s youngest children live in poverty and experience poor education and health outcomes. Voluntary home visiting programs help parents and others raising children with the supports necessary to improve the health, safety, literacy and economic self-sufficiency of the family.

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