Homeless Children & Youth
Am I considered to be homeless?
Special Rights of Students Experiencing Homelessness
"You are not alone"
- Public schools identified 1,258,182 homeless students in the 2012-13 school year
- Pennsylvania has more than 43,103 children experiencing homelessness each year
- Pennsylvania is ranked 14th in the nation in child homelessness
- 34 states reported an increase over the previous year
- An 8% increase nationally over previous year
- An 85% increase since 2007
"It is not your fault"
Causes of Homelessness:
- Lack of affordable housing (foreclosures)
- Poverty (economic recession and/or unemployment)
- Health Problems (lack of health insurance, addiction disorders, Mental health)
- Domestic violence
- Natural and other disasters (including loss of home due to fire)
- Abuse/neglect/family dysfunction (unaccompanied youth)
"Am I considered to be homeless?"
Youth who are experiencing homelessness have special rights under a federal law called the McKinney-Vento Act. This law defines homelessness broadley. You qualify for its protections if you have no consistent, appropriate place to stay.
This includes youth who are "doubled up" with other youth or families due to economic hardship; "couch surfing"; living in a car, motel, camping grounds, trailer park, or sleeping outdoors or in a public place; or living in a shelter.
The law protects youth who have run away from home, been thrown out of their home, been abandoned by parents or guardians, or separated from their parents for any other reason. These youths are called "unaccompanied homeless youth".
Youth who are in temporary foster care placements also qualify. This includes children who are placed through the child welfare system in shelters, emergency foster care placements, transitional foster care or respite care or a placement for purposes of evaluation. (Juvenile Law Center)