Each year, an estimated 6,000 Pennsylvania infants and toddlers (birth to 3 years old) are homeless. Surprisingly, under current state law, there is no assurance that these children will receive vital early intervention services because they do not automatically qualify for them.
A new law signed by Gov. Corbett on Oct. 14 and effective immediately will make these children automatically eligible for intervention services and tracking. House Bill 2204, now Act 143, unanimously passed both the House and the Senate.
“These babies are born into a situation that places them at a dangerous disadvantage from the start,” said Rep. Simmons, who introduced the bill. “They did not choose to be homeless. My legislation removes barriers to help the families of these children get the assistance and resources they need to ensure a brighter future. It is simply the right thing to do.”
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) joined a coalition of approximately 80 organizations that supported this initiative. The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics also is part of this initiative.
A coalition organized by the statewide Campaign for What Works is working to assure all homeless infants and toddlers automatically qualify for tracking and early intervention services.