Welcome guest blogger, Jenna Pattee, human sciences intern at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
As difficult as it is to think about young homeless children, this is an important problem in our country and in Iowa that needs to be addressed. Administration for Children and Families informs us that more than 7,000 Iowa children under age 6 are experiencing homelessness. This is a large concern because there are many negative consequences associated with children who are experiencing homelessness such as developmental delays, health problems and various other challenges, says the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.
If a family in your child care program is dealing with homelessness, there are multiple resources to help in this time of need. The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness notes that more than 900,000 families and 1.5 million children receive childcare assistance each month through the Child Care Development Fund. Assistance with childcare can help parents attend job interviews, trainings, and other employment opportunities. This is a small step in combating the issue of youth homelessness.
In Iowa, Youth and Shelter Services provides homeless young children and their mothers support and assistance in the following areas: education, employment, safe housing, life skills, and positive community engagement. For general information, please call 515- 233- 3141. If you are in an emergency and need immediate help contact Youth and Shelter Services at 515-233-2330 or 800-600-2330.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach also has some excellent resources to support parents of young children. The Iowa Concern Hotline, 1-800-447-1985, is answered 24-hours a day and can be a source of information for families dealing with legal, finance, and crisis issues. For other home and family questions, call AnswerLine at 1-800-262-3804. Parents can register for Just in Time Parenting, a FREE monthly e-newsletter for parents in the first five years. Use the coupon code IA10JITP. The Science of Parenting blog is also an excellent resource sharing research-based information for families. Contact your local human sciences specialist to obtain promotional materials for any of these programs to share with families.