|Posted:||January 31, 2020 12:34 PM|
|From:||Representative Mark Rozzi|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||ENSURING EQUAL ACCESS AND TIMELY GRADUATION FOR HOMELESS YOUTH|
|The Pennsylvania Department of Education ECYEH Program (Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness) reported that a total of 36,823 children and youth were identified as experiencing homelessness in 2017-2018.
In Berks County alone, nearly 2,279 children and youth were identified as homeless, numbers proportionately greater than those of Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties. Approximately 13% were unaccompanied youth, meaning they experienced homelessness without a parent or guardian. As many homeless young people do not want to be identified as such, it is suspected that the numbers may be greatly under-reported.
There are myriad reasons why young people end up homeless including parental incarceration or abandonment, aging out of the foster care system, involvement in the juvenile justice system and so on. They are particularly at a higher risk for sex and labor trafficking.
While there is obviously a need to support children in homeless families, this legislation is intended to alleviate the challenges of unaccompanied homeless youth and foster youth to keep them on track to attain a high school diploma and position them for success in the future.
Homeless and foster youths who change schools face unique challenges. This legislation designates a point person to ease the transition into the new school by determining appropriate class placement and to develop a plan for graduation, among other things. The school is required to accept credits previously earned and/or provide a chance to make up missing credits or have certain requirements waived. Other provisions are enumerated in the attached bill and complement federal regulations.
Please help stem the tide of youth homelessness by co-sponsoring this important legislation.
Introduced as HB2307