The experience of homelessness creates significant stress for young children at a critical time in their development — and with the COVID-19 outbreak creating more disruption for young children, as well as more homelessness, the need for responsive early childhood programs is greater than ever. A new book published by the California Department of Education’s Early Learning and Care Division provides early childhood teachers, administrators, and program staff factual information so that they can create welcoming, inclusive, and strength-based environments that are responsive to the unique needs of young children and families experiencing homelessness. The book provides effective strategies and trauma-informed practices that can be implemented in early childhood programs to support children and their families experiencing homelessness. It also includes authentic vignettes created from interviews with children and families experiencing homelessness across California, in addition to the diverse professionals who serve them. 

Related Webinar

Wednesday, May 27, 1:00 – 2:00PM ET
Responsive Early Education for Young Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness

Based on the new publication by the California Department of Education’s Early Learning and Care Division, this webinar will provide foundational information about early childhood homelessness, as well as concrete research-based strategies that are essential for young children and their families impacted by homelessness. Presenters will share trauma-informed reflective practices, including “housing sensitive” practices, and spotlight promising practices for early childhood practitioners, teachers, and caregivers. The origins and development of this unique publication, and what it has to offer to those in the early education field, also will be shared.


  • Barbara Duffield, Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection
  • Darius Brown, Development Officer, Homeless Interventions and Solutions Division, San José, Manager of COVID-19 Emergency Shelter for Families, and former Homeless Liaison in Santa Clara County
  • Irenka Domínguez-Pareto, Senior Program Associate, WestEd, Center for Child & Family Studies
  • Jenna Juarez Ornbaun, Family Support Specialist, Early Education Department, San Francisco Unified School District
  • Julie Nicholson, Professor of Practice, Mills College, School of Education
  • Lawanda Wesley, Director of Quality Enhancement & Professional Development, Early Childhood Education Department, Oakland Unified School District
  • Grace Whitney, Director of Early Childhood Initiatives, SchoolHouse Connection

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