Helping Children in Chester County
Children experiencing homelessness have the right to an equitable education with a reliable and supportive network of educators. The Chester County Intermediate Unit is dedicated to helping children experiencing homelessness with getting on the path to success.
The Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness program (ECYEH) is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and is based on the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. This federal legislation ensures that homeless children and youth have access to a free, appropriate, public education.
By improving access to education, informing the community about homelessness, and providing support to students and families, our team is committed to ensuring that all students experiencing homelessness have the opportunity to succeed in school.
How the ECYEH program can help:
- HELP with school enrollment and placement
- PROVIDE community referrals
- COORDINATE transportation and support services
- IMPLEMENT tutoring and enrichment services
- ASSIST with obtaining supplies necessary for school
- SUPPLY training and outreach to school districts, families, and communities
The McKinney-Vento Act of 1987 establishes rights and services for children experiencing homelessness and provides government funding to operate these programs. Children and youth are eligible for services under the McKinney-Vento Act if they have been displaced from their homes and are living in a place that is not fixed, regular or adequate. Examples include:
- Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reason
- In a place not designated as regular sleeping accommodation, such as a vehicle, park, hotel or campground
- In a homeless or domestic violence shelter or transitional housing placement
- Outside of his/her home as an unaccompanied youth
- Awaiting foster care
- In any of the situations listed above as the child of a migrant family
Children and youth experiencing homelessness have the right to:
- Continue their education in their current school, and receive transportation OR enroll immediately in the school where they are temporarily housed, even if lacking the paperwork normally required
- Participate in all applicable school programs, including supplemental services
- Receive free lunch
- Receive assistance with school-related expenses such as supplies, clothing, uniforms, etc.
PA Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program: Region 2
The ECYEH program in Region 2 is administered by the Berks County Intermediate Unit and serves Berks, Chester, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and Schuylkill counties.
- About the ECYEH (Region 2) Program – view/download brochure
We provide training on the following topics:
- McKinney-Vento 101 – This training provides an overview of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Participants will gain an understanding of the challenges faced by students experiencing homelessness, characteristics of homelessness and identification strategies. An online poverty simulation can be added to this training.
- Foster Care – This training provides a basic overview of school district responsibilities for foster care youth under the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Collaboration strategies and best practices in working with foster care youth will be explored.
- Transporting Students Experiencing Homelessness – This training focuses specifically on school district transportation requirements for students experiencing homelessness, as required by the McKinney-Vento Act. The training will review best practices and creative transportation solutions for districts.
- Homelessness in Early Childhood – Learn about the unique challenges faced by children experiencing homelessness in early childhood and their rights under the federal McKinney-Vento Act. This training will focus on preschool, early intervention and the Head Start program.
Chester County Resources:
- 211 – Get Connected. Get Help.
- Chester County Resource Guide
- Safe Harbor of Chester County
- Friends Association of Care and Protection
- Good Samaritan Services
- Decades to Doorways – Be the Key
- Chester County Partnership to End Homelessness
- Home of the Sparrow
- Family Promise of Southern Chester County
School District Homeless Liaison Resources:
- Homeless Liaison Tool Kit
- School District Homeless Liaison Directory (Directories for homeless shelters and for ECYEH program coordinators are also available at this site.)
- ECYEH Data Site
- Education for Homeless Youth: Basic Education Circular
- Pennsylvania Department of Education
- School House Connection
- National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
- National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)
Forms and Documents:
- McKinney-Vento Guidance
- ECYEH Intake Form
- Sample Residency Questionnaire
- PA Department of Education Dispute Resolution Procedure
- Procedural Safeguards Notice of Denial of Enrollment
- Dispute Letter (English)
- Dispute Letter (Spanish)
- Title I Set-Aside Needs Assessment
Tamara Acuna, CCIU Homeless Liaison: firstname.lastname@example.org | 484-319-8358