Action Needed: Child Care for Families Experiencing Homelessness

There is a critical opportunity to increase access to child care through the state planning process. States must submit their Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan for 2019-2021 by June 30, 2018. With a historic $2.37 billion increase in FY2018 CCDF funding – the largest increase in child care funding of all time – it is especially important to find out how you can weigh in to improve child care for families experiencing homelessness.

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Hike Against Homelessness

By Leslie Camden Goold, MSW, School Social Worker/McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison, Central Valley School District, Washington. This June, I am stepping outside my comfort zone to honor the unknown challenges that these students face every summer and raise awareness about homelessness. I am going to hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail to acknowledge the daily struggles these students are facing without the safety net of school. I will publicize my journey in the local media, and invite those moved to help to contribute to my McKinney-Vento program.

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I have heard that the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP or food stamps) is available to unaccompanied youth under the age of 18. However, I have had no success in making that happen in my state. I have tried to find policies or laws about this practice but have been unsuccessful in that respect as well. Can you please provide guidance?

Answer: You are exactly right that unaccompanied youth can access SNAP. There is no age limit and no requirement that youth live with their parents or apply with their parents. A memo from the USDA describes how unaccompanied homeless youth under the age of 18 are...

We always enroll without birth certificate, immunizations etc. but we’ve had a few instances with parents not having anything at all with them, including identification. Are we to go ahead and enroll them into school without any type of identification?

Answer: Yes. You must immediately enroll students experiencing homelessness, even if they lack identification. The legal citation in the McKinney-Vento Act is 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(C). The next step, of course, is to work with the family to get identification, but...

We recently had a caregiver who claims to be a student’s father come in to our enrollment center and request school records for his daughter. He said he wanted the records so he could file taxes before her mother. He is not on the birth certificate, although the child is living with him. I feel leery about giving out records for domestic issues, especially to a person with no proof of his relationship.

Answer: FERPA’s rights are rights, meaning anyone who meets the definition of “parent” has the right to access educational records, for any purpose. Basically, the parents are the owners of the records. This person has no proof he is the biological or adoptive parent....

Early Childhood

Infants are at greater risk of living in homeless shelters than any other age group in the United States. Early childhood programs prevent the harmful life-long effects of homelessness on education, health and well-being.

PreK - 12

In the 2015-16 school year, public schools identified more than 1.3 million homeless students. Schools provide basic needs, caring adults, stability, normalcy, and the skills to avoid homelessness as adults.

Higher Education

The majority of well-paying jobs created today require education beyond high school. Post-secondary attainment is increasingly necessary to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, and live a healthy, productive life.

Unaccompanied Youth

Unaccompanied homeless youth are young people experiencing homelessness who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. 4.2 million youth and young adults experience homelessness each year.

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