Children in Shelter – Childcare Resources

HMIS data for the fourth quarter of 2008, reveals that 51% of all children living in shelters are ages birth to 5 years old. Because of this, family shelter providers need to educate themselves on serving young children effectively with the community-based resources available.

2-1-1 Child Care Information and Referral Service

A web- and phone-based database, 2-1-1 Child Care maintains current listings of all state licensed child care centers and family child care homes, as well as listings for nanny agencies, nursery schools, play groups and summer camp programs in Connecticut.

School Readiness Programs

School readiness is a state funding stream to increase the number of spaces in accredited and/or approved programs for young children; expand programming to full-day, full-year spaces to meet family needs; and share costs for early care programs across state government, local communities and families. Resident children in participating communities who are ages 3 and 4 years of age (and children age 5 years of age who are not eligible to enroll in school) may enroll in a school readiness program. At least 60 percent of the children enrolled must be at or below 75 percent of the State Median Income. This is a fee-based program, which accepts Care4Kids vouchers.

Head Start and Early Head Start Programs

Head Start is a federally funded comprehensive early childhood development program that serves pre-school children and their families living in poverty. Early Head Start is a federally funded comprehensive early childhood development program that serves low-income infants and toddlers from prenatal status to three years old, pregnant women and families. Homelessness is one of 8 priority areas for Head Start programs.

Nurturing Families Network

Nurturing Families is a free program funded by the Children’s Trust Fund that provides information, guidance and assistance to first-time parents. Available through approx. 33 community agencies and birthing hospitals throughout Connecticut , the network offers three distinct, yet interwoven services: home visits, parenting groups, and one-on-one volunteer assistance.

Birth-to-Three Services

The mission of the Birth to Three System is to strengthen the capacity of families to meet the developmental and health-related needs of their infants and toddlers who have delays or disabilities. This is a State of Connecticut program, with services covered by Medicaid. Birth to Three does not serve infants and toddlers who are at risk of delay due to environmental causes. Services may be provided at the shelter. Birth to Three also provides service coordination for families.

Children in Shelters Pilot

Children in Shelters offers state funding (DSS) to homeless shelters to secure early care and education services for young children. Services include assessment determine children’s needs and barriers; family service plans to address childcare and educational issues; linkages for children to mainstream social, emotional, developmental, and educational services and health care. All Children in Shelter programs have access to a revolving loan program to secure Care4Kids-eligible childcare for families searching for employment. The goal of the program is to assure effective services to children and to promote achievement of educational and developmental outcomes.

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McKinney-Vento Services

Every school district in CT, by federal law, must identify a McKinney-Vento liaison to support homeless children in remaining in school. This person ensures the following rights of homeless children are protected: choice of school to attend while in shelter, timely enrollment, transportation to school, timely coordination of transportation, comparable services to other students, and automatic enrollment in free school breakfast and school lunch programs.

Care4Kids & Childcare Information and Resources

Care 4 Kids helps low to moderate income families in Connecticut pay for child care costs. Eligible families must live in Connecticut; be working or attending a temporary family cash assistance (Jobs First) approved education or training activity; and meet the program’s income requirements. Eligible providers must be licensed by the CT Dept. of Public Health (unless exempt from licensing); or be a relative, like a grandparent; or take care of the child in the child’s own home.

National Organizations: