WASHINGTON, April 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that key policies related to homelessness in the recently enacted "Every Student Succeeds Act" (ESSA) will take effect on October 1, 2016, one school year earlier than other parts of the law. This decision means that revised policies and practices must be in place in school districts across the country to ensure the identification, enrollment, stability, and success of homeless children and youth.
Signed in December, the Every Student Succeeds Act replaced the No Child Left Behind Act; it also amended the McKinney-Vento Act (the federal education law that provides protections and services for homeless children and youth). The law included two conflicting effective dates for the McKinney-Vento Act amendments: July 1, 2016 and October 1, 2016.
Key components of the new law include:
- Designating appropriate school personnel with training to identify, enroll and support homeless students;
- Increasing school stability for homeless children and youth, so they can stay in their same school throughout their homelessness when it is in their best interest to do so;
- Improving graduation readiness by ensuring college counseling and access to documentation for financial aid;
- Assisting young homeless children to access early childhood programs; and
- Authorizing more funding to support school district efforts to identify and serve children and youth experiencing homelessness.
"Swift implementation of this law is essential to ensure that homeless children and youth receive the education that is their best hope of escaping poverty and homelessness as adults," said Barbara Duffield, Policy and Program Director for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY). "These new policies represent best practices from states and school districts across the country, and we look forward to working with schools, communities, families, and youth to implement them."
Public schools identified 1.3 million homeless children and youth in the 2013-2014 school year, according to U.S. Department of Education data. The data represent a 7% increase over the previous year, and a 100% increase since 2006-2007.
NAEHCY is a national membership association dedicated to educational excellence for children and youth experiencing homelessness, from early childhood through post-secondary education.
SOURCE National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth