Brittany, Cara, Lauren

What is homeless?

Would you believe that there are over 1.6 million homeless children every year? Children who are experiencing homelessness are likely to miss many days of school and move a lot. These students tend to have the poorest educational outcomes and have high instances of emotional and behavioral problems. These children also go hungry at twice the rate of other children and have high rates of obesity due to nutritional deficiencies. Many things can lead families to becoming homeless. Some examples include fleeing abuse, divorce, robbery, illness, or poor money management.

Professional Help

All schools are different, but they handle a lot of situations the same. Schools have programs that provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This way the students will not have to worry about where their next meal will come from. The teachers can keep healthy snacks that they can send home with a student for the weekend. The teacher can make sure to provide everything the student will need in the classroom in order for the student to be successful (ie. pencils, paper, books, markers, scissors, crayons, clipboards etc.).

Some schools offer on site doctors and dentists who visit the school regularly. They can provide the students with toothbrushes and toothpaste. In order to make sure the students who are homeless have proper hygiene, schools have a shower, washing machine, and a dryer. Not only are these resources for the students, but they are also for the families of the student. The schools try to get the families actively involved in the school, as well.

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Obtaining Assistance

In order to meet the needs of homeless students and families, teachers and administrators can refer to specific procedures and provide multiple forms of assistance. Procedures can be done a national, state or local level and assistance can cover learning needs as well as basic living needs.

  • Identify if the child may be homeless: Teachers and administrators can have students and families complete forms and constantly update their home address to identify if a child is living in an unstable environment.

  • Schools can also find data on numbers of students receiving free and reduced lunch or registered as living in poverty to identify students who may be homeless.

  • McKinney-Vento Program is a program that outline the procedures to report student homelessness and how to attain and use funding for student support. Through the program teachers and administrators can follow steps to contact the State Educational Agencies, Local Educational Agencies and a local liaison. The Liaison can work intimately with the child to meet individual needs like providing transportation, enrolling in new schools and meeting with a social worker. For a detailed description of the program, it’s financial benefits and assistance from the liaison, the following page can be used: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/homeless/guidance.pdf

The steps involved in getting help for these students and their family, involve informing the guidance counselor. The teacher must make a community in the school with all the people who help these children be successful. After talking to the guidance counselor, the teacher should then inform the principal. Once the principal is involved, they will determine if social services need to be contacted. It is always to do what is best for the child and the child’s learning.