The PJC’s Education Stability Project advocates to ensure that students who are highly mobile, including those who are homeless and in foster care, have the opportunity to remain and succeed in school.
For many students who are homeless or in foster care, school can be not only a place to learn, but also a source of stability and support during a chaotic period. At the same time, these students face challenges in accessing education. Paperwork requirements, fees, and school uniform rules can make it hard for these students to enroll in classes in the first place. And, if these students change schools each time they move, they can have difficulty harder time staying on track with school work. Add to this the shame that homeless students can feel and it is clear why a high school diploma can seem like just a pipe dream.
Fortunately, the McKinney-Vento Act and Fostering Connections Act give homeless students and students in foster care the right to stay in school and receive the support required for their success. This support includes the opportunity to stay in the same school following an address change, school transportation, waiver of school fees, guarantee of immediate enrollment without paperwork, and many other rights. The mission of the Education Stability Project is to ensure that these laws are in effect throughout the state. If you are, or know a homeless student, unaccompanied youth, or student in foster care in the state of Maryland and need information or legal assistance in connection with these rights, feel free to call the Public Justice Center at 410-625-9409. To learn more about the needs and rights of homeless students, please see our video and brochure on homeless/unaccompanied youth rights.