How does the U.S. support the homeless student?
Across the United States, civilians and their children are faced with a challenging economy that presents financial obstacles that can prevent families from securing adequate housing for their loved ones. Unfortunately, in these circumstances, this results in the homeless student.
Each year in the U.S, 2.5 million children are considered homeless, amounting to 1 in 30 children living either without shelter or in group housing. Although the growing population of homeless individuals exists in every community regardless of state, county or local government there is still shame associated in stereotyping those experiencing temporary hardship. It is a federal mandate that students who are homeless will not be stigmatized in an education setting. Yet the impact on mental and physical health from external stress relating to this issue can affect children in a variety of often invisible ways if their struggle is kept a secret. Children are shouldered with worrying about their family, income, shelter, food supply and other basic living costs that exist out of their control. They yearn for a safe environment to complete school work without having to wonder whether they will have a place to sleep at night. The uncertainty the homeless student face exposes them to an increased risk for anxiety, depression, and other behavioral issues that can result from housing instability.
It is required by each state educational agency that students experiencing homelessness should have equal access to free and appropriate public education without being separated from a mainstream school environment. Working towards an inclusive school setting, every educator-from teachers to counselors to senior administrators-have a responsibility to promote a safe, secure place for students to learn. It is crucial if you suspect a student or their family may be struggling with homelessness that counselors within your school are notified to allocate resources for care. Children whose families are facing economic hardship should have made readily available transportation to school, educational services that allow them to progress academically, and meals provided at a reduced or no cost rate.
Additionally, it is imperative to understand concerns that can impair a child who is homeless as they, and their parent or guardian, try to comply with guidelines set out by the school. Homeless students may not have the correct immunization or medical records required for registration or may not know where to access free healthcare services in their region. Homeless children can often be without a birth certificate, previous school records, or other documentation confirming their identity. Many homeless children face guardianship conflict in the home, whether they are in the care of a foster family or with a parent struggling to make ends meet.
How to manage concerns of the homeless student
Whether you are informed by a parent, student, or support service Impero EdAware can help you track and manage concerns for children who are experiencing homelessness in your school. Our system works to build a chronology through our digital student portfolio so your school can manage student wellbeing collectively. Learn more about our solution by booking a demonstration here.