Building Teams for Change: SchoolHouse Connection Launches a New State Policy Program
SchoolHouse Connection is pleased to announce the launch of “Building Teams for Change,” a new, three-year state policy program. By supporting state-based teams around the country, Building Teams for Change will achieve lasting, state-level policy changes and improve the lives and futures of young people experiencing homelessness in up to forty states.
State laws and policies define many of young people’s rights and protections, including their ability to consent for certain services, priority for early childhood services, procedures for credit accrual, and support in accessing higher education. We have a series of short state law briefs on some of these issues, listed below, with more coming soon.
Recognizing the importance of state laws, SchoolHouse Connection will work in the first year with state partners like Texas Network of Youth Services, Strong Families Action Team, and the California Homeless Youth Project to sponsor State Advocacy Institutes in ten states. The institutes will provide diverse teams of young people and advocates with intensive training and tools to obtain state-level legislative and/or administrative policy changes. Young adult leaders will drive the teams, and school district staff will be essential team members, along with service providers, members of the faith community, civic organizations and other community leaders. Currently, we are finalizing our list of states for State Advocacy Institutes; contact Patricia Julianelle if you would like to have a State Advocacy Institute in your state.
In subsequent years, Building Teams for Change will scale-up its State Advocacy Institute model by launching a train-the-trainer program that will equip smaller teams of advocates in thirty additional states with the knowledge and tools they need to lead State Advocacy Institutes in their states. In addition, through mini-grants and more in-depth technical assistance, SchoolHouse Connection will provide the teams with more intensive support to engage in successful state-level policy advocacy.
By 2019, Building Teams for Change will result in state law and policy changes that help prevent and end youth homelessness in real, measurable ways in up to twenty-five states. At the end of three years, our goal is to support state partners in creating a sustained, nationwide network of effective youth homelessness policy advocates at the state level.
We are grateful to our state partners in this project, and invite those interested in participating in a State Policy Institute or becoming involved in Building Teams for Change to contact us at email@example.com.
SchoolHouse Connection State Law Briefs
- Current and Pending State Laws Allowing Unaccompanied Homeless Youth to Consent for Housing and Related Services. Several state legislatures have recognized that unaccompanied homeless youth under age 18 need legal rights to access housing, shelter and other basic services. This document summarizes state laws, including recently enacted legislation in Wyoming, and a currently pending bill that SchoolHouse Connection is working on with partners in Arizona.
- State Laws on High School Graduation for Students Experiencing Homelessness The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) places great emphasis on high school graduation for students experiencing homelessness. This document summarizes state laws that complement these federal requirements.
- State Laws Supporting College Students Experiencing Homelessness. State legislatures have been actively supporting college students experiencing homelessness over the past few years. This document provides a summary of existing strong state laws. SchoolHouse Connection is working with partners in Texas on a new state law to support the thousands of Texas students striving to complete college without safe, stable housing.