Professional Resource

ZERO TO THREE Journal—March 2019: Young Children And Families Experiencing Homelessness

Take a look into the March 2019 issue of the ZERO TO THREE Journal.

Released bi-monthly, each issue of the ZERO TO THREE Journal focuses on a critical topic within the early childhood development field. Journal articles are carefully composed to present current knowledge, latest research, and practical advice to help early childhood professionals do their best work in support of infants and toddlers.

Editor's Notes | This Issue and Why it Matters

Stefanie Powers | Editor

At any age or stage of life, homelessness brings a host of risks and vulnerabilities to affected individuals, but infants and toddlers are of particular concern. Inadequate and unstable housing is linked to health, developmental, and emotional problems, and children who lack a stable home environment are also often lacking in other basic needs and experience additional risk factors. We explore these topics in this issue of the Journal in collaboration with guest editor Grace Whitney, who is the director of Early Childhood Initiatives at SchoolHouse Connection and the former director of Connecticut’s Head Start State Collaboration Office. Over the course of her 45-year career, Dr. Whitney has worked in a variety of contexts involving children without homes, and she graciously devoted her impressive wealth of knowledge and expertise to all levels of the planning, writing, and editing of the articles in this issue.


Grace Whitney | Guest Editor

On my refrigerator is a photo of my parents’ kitchen which still brings a visceral sense of belonging, of safety, of respite, and of hope. One’s personal sense of home is etched early into the architecture of the brain, along with the deeply felt sense of security and belonging, or the lack of thereof. Homelessness stands in stark contrast to the image of home as refuge and safety, yet resources for families can be scarce and inadequate. From the perspective of the baby, it is vital to move away from definitions of homelessness that are based on shifting funding priorities and embrace a deeper understanding of homelessness as defined by how a child’s environment provides, or fails to provide, the stable and nurturing home and relationships that are necessary to thrive.

In this issue, contributors explore how they are working to improve the experiences of families living in circumstances void of safe, stable, and adequate housing, thus thwarting their ability to create a sense of home for their young children. The authors describe a range of approaches being used to create networks of protective factors through partnerships, policies, and practices, primarily in public shelters, but these same protective networks are necessary for young children sleeping in cars and tents; on couches, floors, and sidewalks; amidst chaos and constant change; and with others who pose threats to their safety.

Table of Contents

FREE Featured Article

Take a look inside this issue and read our featured article, An Introduction to Young Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness by Grace Whitney.

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Coming in May

More on homelessness from the Journal

Join us for a two-part Virtual Event series on Young Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness. Visit our Virtual Event calendar for more information.

In the May ZERO TO THREE Journal

Supporting Babies and Parents Before Birth