|Posted:||January 29, 2021 12:51 PM|
|From:||Representative Mark Rozzi and Rep. Donna Bullock|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Ensuring Equal Access and Timely Graduation for Homeless Youth|
|In Berks County alone, more than 2,000 children and youth were identified as homeless – a figure proportionately greater than Allegheny County and just behind Philadelphia County. Approximately 17% of Pennsylvania’s homeless youth were unaccompanied, 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 are obviously many ways we can and should support children in homeless families, this legislation is intended to alleviate the specific 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.
Our legislation designates a point person for homeless and foster youth to ease the transition into their new school by determining appropriate class placement and developing a plan for graduation, among other things. The school is required to accept credits previously earned and/or provide a chance for the student 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 HB1045