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An Important Omission 


Thanks for the article on homeless students ("The Grove," Aug. 1). One important omitted demographic to this important story, however, is that of homeless preschool children. Although HCOE was happy to report regarding their services to K-12 homeless kids in Humboldt, one of their dark secrets is that they refuse to offer any mandated services to preschool-aged students. At a recent meeting regarding the plight of homeless preschoolers at the Humboldt Area Foundation hosted by the Street Relief Nursery, Roger Golek, the HCOE homeless liaison, stated that the funding received in Humboldt from the McKinney-Vento federal grant is not nearly enough to provide services to preschoolers, even though receipt of itrequiresserving them.

Let's do some logical follow-through: statistically, homeless preschoolers without early childhood education (ECE) are more likely to experience learning and social delays, as well as to be diagnosed with learning disabilities, than their housed peers. Homelessness without ECE is associated with poor classroom management and social skills in early elementary school. And as the former director of children's programs at the St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Family Service Center in Eugene, Oregon, I can affirm that without early intervention, homeless preschoolers have a higher risk of becoming homeless adults, perpetuating the problem.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences study demonstrates that the childhood trauma of homelessness has lifelong negative effects, and that shelters can contribute to destabilizing trauma in young children. It is well-known that the earlier the interventions for childhood issues, the better the outcomes. Why does Humboldt feel it's better to wait for children to suffer unalterable trauma than to offer them needed and mandated services as early as possible to improve their outlook for success as members of our community?

Hilary Mosher, McKinleyville

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