Literature Review: Education Network of Resources for Homeless Students and Families 

Published: 2021-06-29 06:47:34
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Literature Review:Education Network of Resources for Homeless Students and FamiliesRecently there has been a note in the rise of homelessness across the nation. As reported by the National Center for Homeless Education, in the 2011-2012 school year, 1,168,354 students were identified as experiencing homelessness in U.S. schools, about a 10% increase from the previous 2010-2011 school year, (1,065,794). Homelessness can have several negative impacts on a child’s health, students experiencing homelessness can suffer from poor nutrition, severe emotional stress, and higher exposure to violence, and several health risks (National Center for Homeless Education NCHE, 2014). Additionally, frequent moving and upheaval eliminate feelings of safety, stability, and predictability. Schools and other resources are used in an effort to provide students with stability, safety, and valuable interactions to counteract the negative impacts of their conditions of homelessness (Miller, Homeless Families' Education Networks': An Examination of Access and Mobilization, 2011) (Anderson, Grothaus, Knight, & Lorelle, 2011). Specifically, I will be discussing the resources found for homeless students, within the entire education resource network. The focus of this review will ask the question, through what means (person, place, organization, and policy) do homeless families discover resources and how do these resources affect their situation. Several trends across the literature discussed “key actors” and “agencies”, important to the delivery of services to homeless students and their families. I divided the literature into five broad hubs of resources including: policies, residential agencies and shelters, schools, community based programs, and valued relationships.  Across the six articles explored in this review the five hubs of resources are discussed assessing the positives and negatives of the social services delivery system for homeless families, within the education network. It is important to keep in mind that each article comes from different geographic locations within the United States, although the majority discuss urban areas, it traverses several school districts, states and cities, with various regulations in addition to those discussed in the literature.PolicyThe largest influence on the resources available to homeless students and their families are policies specifically designed to address homelessness. Within the education network the policy that affects students and their rights the most is the McKinney Vento Act. The McKinney Vento Act defines homelessness as those “without a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence” (Pavlakis, 2014, p. 4) (Losinski, Katsiyannis, & Ryan, 2013, p. 92). The Act was formulated to provide services to homeless students, through increased identification, combating barriers of transportation and student mobility, quick enrollment regardless of records and creating a network within schools that ensures their ability to achieve (Losinski, Katsiyannis, & Ryan, 2013). However, it shown that the execution of these stipulations has not been entirely effective for its intended recipients. Many parents are entirely unaware of the bill, possess little to no knowledge of it, and are generally confused on how it applies to them and their child’s education (Miller, Homeless Families' Education Networks': An Examination of Access and Mobilization, 2011) (Pavlakis, 2014). Such lapse in knowledge provided barriers to a child’s enrollment, prevents students from attending higher quality schools, or staying connected to the child’s school of origin, and hinders families overall access to resources provided under the Act. To exacerbate the issue many officials appointed under the act and other relevant school personnel have a lack of understanding of the Act as well (Pavlakis, 2014) (Anderson, Grothaus, Knight, & Lorelle, 2011).

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