Families living in the Department of Homeless Services’ shelters face incessant challenges when getting their children to school and giving their children a quality education (e.g., enrollment, punctual and safe transportation, chronic absenteeism, etc.). These challenges are more prevalent for families who are assigned temporary 10-day housing while they navigate a tedious and bureaucratic shelter application process. Below is an excerpt from our testimony supporting Int. No. 150 which aims to explore barriers for children in shelters traveling to school.
“It is rare to see a family intentionally placed near a school their child already attends. Rather, families are placed randomly and are expected to figure out a way to get their child to school. Arranging a school bus can take weeks, and until such time that a school bus is provided, my clients are expected to get their children to school on public transportation, which can take hours in each direction. As a result, children are often absent or late. And if they are absent or late too many times, the school will contact Administration for Children’s Services (‘ACS’) and initiate a case of alleged educational neglect which can endanger custody.”