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Homeless Children and School
 
 

Homeless children have their lives disrupted in many ways: they can lose the familiar anchors of family, friends, school, and the very bed they sleep in and house they live in.  MAC advocates for children whose schooling is disrupted, who are forced to live in a homeless shelter, motel or in a temporary arrangement far from their previous home and outside their school district.  The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (pdf available here) guarantees the right of children who are homeless to maintain the continuity of their education.  MAC works with others to enforce that law in Massachusetts through the state Department of Education.

MAC released its manual for lawyers and advocates, Educational Rights of Children Affected by Homelessness and/or Domestic Violence, in April 2006. This manual provides advocacy tools for implementing laws that protect the education rights of homeless children (McKinney-Vento Act and special eduction laws), keep them safe (protective orders and confidentiality rights at school), and provide them with shelter. The Handbook provides a special focus on children affected by both homelessness and domestic violence.

In 2012, MAC provided legal representation to a homeless family. Although the family was still "doubled up" with friends, the school district claimed that they were no longer homeless. Despite vigorous opposition by the school district, DESE upheld the student's appeal that her family remained homeless and eligible for McKinney-Vento services, including the right to be transported daily to and from the school district.

 

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Helping Children Learn
 
 

For 40 years, MAC has responded to the needs of children who are vulnerable because of poverty, race, limited English or disability and does not intend to stop. With education reform continuing to occupy a high priority on the state’s policy agenda, and with the severe economic crisis facing Massachusetts families, MAC is needed now, more than ever.

 
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