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Community Connections for Homeless Children

Community Connections for Homeless Children

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Community Connections for Homeless Children

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  1. Community Connections for Homeless Children Kara A. Capone, MA, MPH Director of Programs New Haven Home Recovery, Inc.

  2. Shelter Options in New Haven, CT • 4 Family Shelter options • CCA –(2 sites) = 17 families (DSS) • NHHR (2 sites) = 13 women & children (DSS & City) • Life Haven = 20 women & children (DSS & City) • Domestic Violence – 6 women & children (DSS)

  3. Homeless Kids in New Haven & CT • In the past two years, NH shelters (excluding DV) sheltered 658 children. 55% were 0-5 years old. NHHR has over 1,700 requests for shelter, only 16% could be accommodated • There are an est. 13,000 homeless children statewide • 40% of all people who are homeless are children

  4. McKinney-Vento Overview McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act • Originally authorized in 1987 • Reauthorized in January 2002 as Title X, Part C of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) • The primary piece of federal legislation dealing with the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness in U.S. public schools.

  5. McKinney-Vento Overview (Cont.) • Provides stability, access and support for academic success for homeless children and youth, including preschool-aged children • To qualify for these rights, children and youth must be considered homeless according to the McKinney-Vento definition of homelessness.

  6. Homeless Definition Homeless children and youth are minors who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. It includes children and youth who: • are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; • are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; • are living in emergency or transitional shelters; • are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement

  7. Homeless Definition (Cont.) • have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings • are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and • migrant children and youth who qualify as homeless

  8. Homeless Definition (Cont.) Subgroups: • Children and Youth in Homeless Families • Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (runaway, abandoned, and/or unsupervised youth) Under the McKinney-Vento Act, an individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate residence is considered homeless. • Fixed residence: one that is stationary, permanent and not subject to change. • Regular residence: one that is used on a regular (i.e., nightly) basis. • Adequate residence: one which is sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in home environments.

  9. School Involvement • Every LEA (Local Educational Agency) must designate a local homeless education liaison • Responsibilities: • Identify homeless children and youth • Ensure that homeless students enroll in and have full and equal opportunity to succeed in school • Post public notice of educational rights • Coordinate and collaborate with agencies • Arrange services and transportation • Resolve disputes

  10. Educational Rights Children and youth experiencing homelessness have the right to: • Go to school • Continue in the school they last attended before becoming homeless • Receive transportation to the school they last attended

  11. Educational Rights (Cont.) • Attending a school and participate in school programs with children who are not homeless. • Enroll without giving a permanent address. • Enroll and attend classes without immunization records or any other required documents • Receive the same special programs and services, as provided to all other children • Receive transportation to school and to school programs

  12. The Children’s Education Partnership • NHHR, Head Start, Diaper Bank and DSS got together to discuss the problem • Convened interested stakeholders • TA from from Regional Head Start • Put together a plan to address the school readiness needs of homeless children age 0-5 years.

  13. Partnership Goal: Develop strong collaboration between agencies including Memo’s of Understanding • Create collaborative steering committee consisting of a representative from each organization to meet quarterly • Work with stakeholders to ensure a coordinated system of care. Issue a quarterly newsletter on progress • Create and sign MOU’s between agencies

  14. Education Goal: Universal understanding of McKinney-Vento and ability to use information effectively • Education of sheltered parents • Education of shelter staff • Education of local school staff

  15. Identification & Enrollment Goal: Increase the number of homeless children identified as eligible for and enrolled in early childhood education • Staff ID children eligible • Applications completed and submitted • Children enrolled in school

  16. Identification & Enrollment (Cont.) Goal: All children who are homeless will be enrolled in a quality education program • DSS collaboration with Head Start • Outreach agencies • Establish point people at agencies • Outreach other services providers: mental health, substance abuse. • Identify barriers to enrollment

  17. Advocacy • Goal: Homeless children will be better served by the school system through advocacy • Participation of staff in IEPs and other educational meetings • Facilitate communication with teachers, social workers and other school personnel

  18. Outreach • Locally: School Readiness Council, Board of Alderman-Human Services, Policy Council, City Health Dept-Manos, DPH School of Health Services, Head Start School Advisory, BOE School Based Health Clinics, New Haven Continuum, Voices for Children

  19. Outreach • Statewide: Commission on Children, Daycare Council, School Readiness, Department of Social Services, Department of Children and Families, Department of Education, Department of Public Health, legislators and elected / appointed officials

  20. Resources • National Center for Homeless Education • National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth • National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 • No Child Left Behind Title X, Part C