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The Educational Rights and Needs of Homeless Children

The Educational Rights and Needs of Homeless Children

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The Educational Rights and Needs of Homeless Children

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  1. The Educational Rights and Needs of Homeless Children 2009 Homeless Awareness Day November 19, 2009

  2. INTRODUCTIONS Donna Cash, Supervisor Homeless & Even Start State of Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education PO Box 480 • Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480 • Phone: 573-522-8763 Fax: 573-526-6698 • • DESE’s Website: •

  3. Source: Seccombe 2001, p. 323 Children in poverty “Overall…receive lower grades, receive lower scores on standardized tests, are less likely to finish high school, and are less likely to attend or graduate from college…”

  4. What does homelessness in Missouri look like? • Missouri has 256,000 children living in poverty.* • Ages of Homeless Children • Under 6 years….………12,801 • Grades K-8………………...3,606 • Grades 9-12…………..…14,071 • Total • Homeless Children…30,478 *As reported by The National Center on Family Homelessness 2009


  6. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act The McKinney-Vento Act ensures homeless children certain rights. It addresses the educational and related needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our society—homeless children and youth. The Act is a conditional funding act. This means that the federal government gives grants to states and, in return, the grantee states are bound by the terms of the act.

  7. Definition of homelessness For the purposes of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act, homelessness is described as… “Children and unaccompanied youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” If the living arrangement does not meet all three criteria, it is considered a homeless situation.

  8. Fixed A fixed residence is one that is stationary, permanent, and not subject to change. Regular A regular residence is one which is used on a predictable or routine basis. Adequate An adequate residence is one that is sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in home environments. What does Fixed, Regular, and Adequate mean?

  9. McKinney-Vento Act • McKinney-Vento requires schools to immediately enroll students experiencing homelessness even when they lack: • Proof of residency • Guardianship • Birth certificates, school records, or other documents • Medical records, including immunization records • MOFAQ • If unable to obtain prior immunization records within 30 days, begin the immunization series and demonstrate satisfactory progress has been accomplished within 90 days. • Required dress code items, including uniforms

  10. McKinney-Vento Act • Determining eligibility is a case-by-case determination made by examining the living arrangement of each individual student. • Some instances will be clear-cut; others will require further inquiry and then a judgment call. • Determinations of eligibility cannot delay immediate enrollment and the prompt provision of services for MV students.

  11. "You develop coping mechanisms – a fight or flight response - when you are homeless that are probably not appropriate in mainstream culture. You get increasingly defensive and desperate. …We have to understand that a goal of simply creating more affordable housing units is not enough; we need … plenty of compassion and understanding on the part of the community,"… Quote from Jessica Welch, former homeless student

  12. Main points OF McKinney-Vento • What is in the child’s best interest • School stability • School access • Support for academic success • First and foremost decisions • must be child-centered


  14. INTRODUCTIONS • Shalonda Haynes, • Educational Coordinator • The Salvation Army: Family Haven A • Community In Partnership • 10740 Page St. Louis Mo. 63132 • Phone: 314-423-7770 Fax: 314-423-5458 •

  15. Did You Know??? • Children living in families who are homeless or at risk for homelessness suffer from hunger, poor physical and mental health, and missed educational opportunities.

  16. General Findings • Mental Health: 2009 20% to 25% of homeless families in the US suffers form some form of mental illness. • Physical Health: More than 1 in 7 homeless children have moderate to severe health conditions. • Dental: 1 in 3 poor children have no dental care, low income children have 12 times as many restricted activity days due to dental disease. • Education: Less than 25% of homeless children graduate from high school Source: National Coalition for the Homeless

  17. Missouri’s Report Card The Overall Rank represents the following four domains • Extent of child homelessness 41 • Child well-being 6 • Risk for child homelessness 30 • State policy and planning Moderate • Overall rank 27 • *States ranked 1-50 1=best, 50=worst • The Report Card describes many factors related to child homelessness in each state.

  18. Risk Factors Two main risk factors that lead to child homelessness are… • Lack of affordable housing • Income

  19. Lack of Affordable Housing In an effort to house families in need, states can supply emergency shelter, transitional, and permanent supportive housing. • Section 8 vouchers and public housing are two of the primary ways for homeless families to secure affordable housing. • In Missouri, approx. 91% of the households on the Section 8 waiting lists and 87% on the public housing waiting list are families with extremely low incomes. • Unfortunately, current funding for the voucher program meets the needs of only one-quarter of homeless families.

  20. Income As of July 2009 minimum wage in Missouri is $7.25 an hour. • One wage earner, earning the state’s minimum wage($7.25) would need to work 75 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent. • The average monthly income for a single mother in Missouri receiving public assistance is less than $498 • For a family in this situation, a minor event (illness, reduce work hours, hospitalization etc.) can force a family onto the streets.

  21. Immediate Needs of Homeless Children Education: Proficiency data for homeless students are unavailable. As a proxy measure, the National Assessment of Educational Progress reports the following: 18% of students in grades 3-8 were proficient on reading 22% of students in grades 3-8 were proficient in mathematics 16%of high school students were proficient in mathematics 18% or students in grade 3-8 were proficient in reading. Lack of Representation: IEP meetings, 504 meetings, disciplinary hearings, etc.

  22. Physical Health • More than 1 in 7 homeless children have moderate to severe health conditions. • Losing one’s home can cause illness and aggravate existing health conditions for homeless children who tend to be in poorer health than their housed counterparts. • Homeless children have poorer access to medical and dental care. • More than 1 in 10 homeless children have not seen a doctor in the past year. • Homeless families use emergency rooms as their primary source of health care, seeking assistance only when problems become severe and urgent.

  23. Dental • 1 in 7 poor children will go a year without receiving dental care. • Homeless children are at increased risk for tooth decay. • Low-income children have 12 times as many restricted activity days due to dental disease. • The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit a dentist at least once before age one and bi-annually afterwards. • Give Kids A Smile

  24. Mental Health • 1 in 6 homeless children have emotional disturbances (twice that experienced by middle class children). • 1 in 10 homeless children have a emotional disturbance that is serious enough to disrupt daily functioning in home, school, or the community. • Mental health disorders may begin as early as 7-11 year old and often persist into adulthood. • By age 8 one out of three homeless children will have a diagnosable mental disorder that interferes with daily activity.

  25. A Call For Help Homeless children are in constant need of resources that will help with… • Education • Mental Health • Physical Health • Dental Care

  26. Reflection: The moral test of Government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children, those who are in the twilight of life, the aged, and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped. --Hubert Humphrey

  27. Questions?