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Educational Supports for Youth In Out-of-Home Care

9/14/2004:   A strong educational foundation is essential for success, and that's particularly true for children and youth in our foster care system. For a number of reasons, children placed in foster care often slip behind their peers in school. But minimizing enrollment delays and providing additional supports to children and youth in care can begin to close this gap. Child welfare agencies may be able to bring these resources to children and youth in care through the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act.

McKinney-Vento ensures that children are entitled to continued enrollment in their home school or immediate enrollment in a new school. The act also provides a stream of federal funding for an array of supports, including but not limited to tutoring, transportation, and cash assistance to ensure the participation of homeless children and youth in elementary and secondary school.

Although the act was developed for children who are homeless, communities nationwide have applied McKinney-Vento eligibility to young people who have run away from a foster home, group home, or other placement, and children in a number of temporary living arrangements including shelters, foster homes, group homes, and evaluation centers. And you can, too.

For more information, visit CWLA's website.

Each school district is required to appoint a McKinney-Vento liaison. Your state education coordinator can give you the contact information for your local liaison. A list of state coordinators is available from the National Center for Homeless Education.

For a complete copy of the McKinney-Vento legislation and the most recent guidance issued by the US Department of Education, visit www.ed.gov/programs/homeless/guidance.pdf. For more information, you can also visit www.naehcy.org and www.nlchp.org/FA_Education, or contact Ruth White, 202/662-4282.

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