A Look at Child Welfare From a Homeless Education Perspective
More and more frequently, local homeless education liaisons are asked to determine whether students involved with the child welfare system are eligible for services under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and, if so, how to serve them appropriately. Although the confusion of navigating the child welfare system can deter local liaisons from their task, the McKinney-Vento Act requires that they collaborate with community agencies; and increasingly, child welfare personnel are held accountable to help children and youth achieve successful educational outcomes. In addition, the Basic Center and Transitional Living programs (authorized under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program) must coordinate with local liaisons. In view of the mandates (and the fact that it makes good sense) for these groups to work with each other, the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) developed this examination of the child welfare system in hopes that a better understanding would lead educators and child welfare workers to establish better working relationships, simplify the process of working together, and ultimately provide more appropriate services for children and youth.