December 2019
Story of the Year

So many  stories throughout the City, but here is true story of good work.  Ultimately, our work is about people. 

single father with  infant twins is currently receiving high quality care at the  Maternity Care Coalition. He doesn't want to remove his children from this excellent program, but he also needs more child care to be able to work and leave the shelter. 

A BELL ECE Specialist told him about childcare subsidy, where he could keep his children in the program but use Pennsylvania's subsidy support for an after-hours care program. Thanks to the policy of " presumptive eligibility," which prioritizes family in shelters, his children were accepted and he was able to accept a job that will soon help him leave the shelter.  
BEST of Building Early Links for Learning (BELL)
  • Read the summary of what happened when three hundred stakeholders attended the BELL Summit.  
  • BELL ECE Specialist Sarah Vrabic participated in a 'roundtable' called "Community Collaborations: Improving Services for Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness"  
  • BELL Director Roz Edwards and Researcher Dr. JJ Cutuli presented at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth national conference. 
Collaborations of the Year

PEC and Youth Service Inc. (YSI), two Philadelphia nonprofit agencies with a long history of providing critical services to children, families and youth in the city, announced their intention to affiliate.  The organizations have collaborated for many years, including in parenting education and in engaging youth. Learn more here.

Youth and young adults continued to work together under the banner of Youth 
HEALers Stand Up! HEAL stands for  Housing,  Education, Advocacy, and Leadership. Read their blog here.

The Childr en's Work Group Early Childhood  Committee is  the only local pu blic conversation on the health and well-being  of young children experien cing homelessness. Discussions led by experts included 
  • Early Intervention 
  • Head Start enrollment
  • United Way discussing literacy programs
  • Transformation of Child Care Information Services to the 'Early Learning Resource Centers' (ELRC) for accessing high quality
  • Early childhood data

Advocacy of the Year

Governor Wolf signed the Foster Care Education Bill after the PA General Assembly unanimously approved it.


PEC joined Strong Start PA  advocacy campaign to promote expansion of high-quality early learning programs  in Pennsylvania. The result was a $30 million increase in pre-k funding ($25 million increase for Pre-K Counts, and a $5 million increase for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program).


Family Service Provider Network (FSPN) worked with City Councilperson Jannie Blackwell to convince City Council and the Mayor to target $4 million for preventing homelessness of families. 

2019's Top 9 Best Reads

A report showing that in the United States, the number of students experiencing homelessness increased 7 percent since the School Year 2015, while Pennsylvania increased by 14 percent.

Healer's Blog : Read 4 blog articles written by youth/young adults.

PEC Visiting Scholars Dr. JJ Cutuli, Dr. Dan Treglia, and Dr. Janette Herbers released their new work "Adolescent homelessness and associated features: Prevalence and risk across eight states."   
A Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) report showing the highest ever number of students experiencing homelessness.   

A PDE report in which PEC compared data on children and youth in Philadelphia and the combined suburban Philadelphia counties of Bucks, Delaware, Lehigh, Northampton, and Montgomery counties. 
Ros Robinson of Woodstock Family Center
2019 Yay Babies Awards to ... 

These awards are given in honor of Dr. Staci Perlman, one of the founding members of the BELL project. Recognition is given to staff in emergency housing and early learning programs who do great things for young children experiencing homelessness.  

2019 winners were: 
  • Latisha Swans-Brown, Jane Addams Place of Lutheran Settlement
  • Tambra Hall, Stenton Manor Family Center
  • Grace Whitney, SchoolHouse Connections
  • Roslyn Robinson, Woodstock Family Center 
  • Nicole Moody, Families Forward Philadelphia