Written by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, this blog article was first posted on NAEHCY’s website.
Our Law Project works with NAEHCY, advocating with members of the Illinois congressional delegation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) via the Every Student Succeeds Act.
BACKGROUND | EDUCATION FOR HOMELESS CHILDREN AND YOUTH
The largest and most significant intervention for homeless children and youth is the public school system, which provides both basic services as well as the education that is necessary to avoid poverty as adults. The reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program and Title I Part A is an opportunity to make the law more effective by refining and improving key provisions, including identification, school stability, enrollment, and support for academic achievement.
On December 9, the U.S. Senate passed the “Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015” (ESSA) by a vote of 85-12. ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), including the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program. ESSA passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week by a vote of 359-64.
ESSA includes nearly all of NAEHCY’s recommendations to strengthen and improve the education of over 1.3 million children and youth experiencing homelessness, from early childhood through high school graduation. It incorporates best practices from states and school districts across the country to increase the identification, enrollment, stability, and school success of children and youth experiencing homelessness. ESSA increases resources for homeless students by expanding the availability and use of Title I Part A funds, and by raising the authorized funding level for the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program (from $65 million appropriated this year to authorizing $85 million by FY17).
ESSA also includes nearly all of NAEHCY’s recommendations to provide children and youth in foster care with core protections for school stability and school access through a statutory vehicle that is separate from the McKinney-Vento Act, and that outlines clear, distinct, and appropriate responsibilities for both the education and child welfare agencies.
Taken together, these amendments will assist students experiencing homelessness to enroll in and attend school, complete their high school education, and continue on to higher education—their best hope of avoiding poverty and homelessness as adults.
ESSA now moves to President Obama’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law as soon as December 10. The amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act and Title I Part A, among others, will go into effect on July 1, 2016.
BILL SUMMARY AND TEXT:
For NAEHCY’s summary of the major amendments on homelessness and foster care in the Every Student Succeeds Act, click here. For the full text of the legislation, click here.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information, contact Barbara Duffield, Director of Policy and Programs, at email@example.com, or 202.364.7392.
THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE IN ESEA REAUTHORIZATION
Based on the challenges in implementing the McKinney-Vento Act for children and youth in foster care, and the legislative foundation provided by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, NAEHCY recommends that the ESEA reauthorization provide children and youth in foster care with core protections for school stability and school access through a statutory vehicle in that is separate from the McKinney-Vento Act, and that creates clear, distinct, and appropriate responsibilities for both the education and child welfare agencies.
Use this link to download NAEHCY’s position paper on children and youth in foster care in ESEA reauthorization.