Pennsylvania’s Homeless Children’s Initiative
On July 22, 1987, The Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act became public law. As a first step in 1998, the Pennsylvania Department of Education established the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program. Recently included in the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, it is now called the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001. This program has been responsible for assessing Pennsylvania’s homeless children population, developing the appropriate responses, and establishing McKinney-Vento Homeless sites.
Who is considered homeless?
Children or youth and their families living in a shelter, transitional housing, motel, vehicle, campground, on the street, or doubled up with relatives or friends due to a lack of housing are considered to be homeless.
Does residency have to be proven?
No, because families are unable to establish a “home” on a permanent basis, a school cannot require proof of residency that might prevent or delay the enrollment of school-age children.
Is there any reason to delay enrolling a homeless child?
No. The school selected shall immediately enroll the child/youth in school, even if the child or youth lacks records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, proof of residency, or other documentation. The enrolling school must immediately contact the last school attended to obtain relevant academic and other records.
Where can you call for assistance?
The Homeless Children’s Initiative exists to help homeless children with a wide variety of services. We can assist homeless children during this time of change and stress. If you are homeless with school-age children please call:
Sally Walmsley, Local Homeless Liaison: (570) 888-7766 Ext. 4001
Jeff Zimmerman, Region #7, McKinney-Vento Coordinator
Luzerne County IU #18: (570) 718-4613