Working with Future Leaders

By Marsha Basloe, President of Child Care Services Association

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to work on an Early Childhood Homelessness – 50 State Profile at a time when states were just beginning to look at early childhood services to young children experiencing homelessness. I was fortunate to be able to work with an intern, Jinha Yoon, who had just graduated from Georgetown and who had a passion for data. Jinha was excited to be part of this project and I was excited to have her ability to do magic with the multitude of data and spreadsheets! The first 50 state profile was released in January 2015 using 2013 data. (Although I had to say good bye to Jinha, I was pleased to be a reference for her first job.)

In 2017, knowing that we needed more recent data, John McLaughlin from the Dept. of Educationand I had the opportunity to work with the D.C. Education Policy Fellows Program (EPFP) to update the 50 State profiles. EPFP sponsored by the Institute for Educational Leadership provides wonderful opportunities for Fellows to develop leadership skills and an understanding of public policy. Fortunately, it also includes a major group project.

 

Three students, Abigail Cohen, Madelyn Gardner and Jennifer McDowell, signed on to help update the 50 State profiles and put their stamp on the new product as their EPFP project. It was fun working with them, answering questions, seeing their research, hearing their ideas, previewing the pages and more. I remember the day they came to present the updated Early Childhood Homelessness in the United States: 50-State Profile to a group of us at ACF. They’d already presented to their classmates as you can see in the picture above. It was released in June 2017 using newer data from 2015 and they had added new related factors – housing cost burden and percent of families with children under age 6 working, but remaining low income.  States immediately used this new information.

Last week, when I attended the National Research Conference on Early Childhood (NRCEC) in Washington, D.C., I had another chance to see them and their work! They had submitted a poster session and had been accepted to present on their project: Exploring Early Childhood Homelessness in the United States: Prevalence and Access to Federal Early Childhood Education Services.  I was the first person to get to their poster session got to hear them talk about the project and all they had learned. I was so pleased for them and for our community. Abby and Maddy (pictured here) stepped up to be part of a leadership program and took great pride in this project. It does make me hopeful that with new, young researchers in our field, we are going to do good things for children and families in the future.

 

(Basloe was the senior advisor in the Office of Early Childhood at the Administration for Children and Families, DHHS.)