Children Can’t Wait! The 2021 BELL Summit
The theme of this year’s summit was “Children Can’t Wait: How Pennsylvania Can Lead in Supporting Children Experiencing Homelessness.” The attendees were welcomed by Greg El, Chair of the People's Emergency Center (PEC) Board of Directors.
Roslyn Edwards, PEC's Early Learning Director, and Joe Willard, PEC VP of Policy, introduced and provided context for several topics for discussion.
Keynote speaker was John McLaughlin, Education Program Specialist with the United States Department of Education. In his capacity, Mr. McLaughlin oversees the national implementation of the McKinney-Vento homeless education system.
Omari Baye, PEC's BELL Manager, highlighted community partnerships with the Early Learning Champions announcement -- 43 staff at Philadelphia housing providers dedicated to the education of their agency's youngest residents.
Tracey Campanini, Deputy Secretary, Office of Child Development and Early, PA Department of Human Services, shared new policies and procedures that support young children experiencing homelessness.
Donna Cooper, Executive Director of Children First, discussed K-12 education challenges, how American Rescue Plan should be deployed, and what policymakers need to do.
Tracy Duarte, Director of the PA Head Start Collaboration Office talked about a new report of homeless children accessing Head Start across Commonwealth and new efforts to increase enrollments.
Barbara Duffield, Executive Director of the Schoolhouse Connection, discussed national trends and how American Rescue Plan should be deployed.