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Galling How One Can Side Step the Glaring Challenge of Ending Early Childhood Trauma

December 3, 2015

Galling How One Can Side Step the Glaring Challenge of Ending Early Childhood Trauma



This is absolutely stupifying.  This act has been passed over and over again since 1987 when it was challenged by a young group of dissidents and activists on the door step of the Congress.  Never has there been enough resources to meet the ongoing needs of the trauma that children have experienced over the course of the life of the McKinney-Vento Act and there are many more times as many childen affected by trauma, which is the number one health epidemic in America,  a veritable decision to throw away the lives of millions of children for generations.  What in the world is it that makes it possible for people to say that we are, “making progress,”  when there are millions of children who go to bed without a safe and stable place to live because of TRAUMATIC CONDITIONS?


We have side stepped this issue throughout the course of the existence of the National Coalition and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, because we always wanted to look as though we were making headway.  Largely speaking the reverse has been the case despite the repeated reenactment of the McKinney-Vento Act, and the changing of who met the definition of being homeless in America.  When I speak to people from abroad about these matters they are obliged to ask how in the wealthiest nation on earth ever could this be?  Largely it is because we really do not want to solve this problem once and for all.


I defer to the excellent presentation of Dr. Nadine Jacqueline Burke Harris on Tedmed in 2014 on the subject of the epidemic and our inability to admit that we are doing next to nothing but applying bandaids.  Congratulations NAECHY for clapping ones hands together without touching the root causes of this emergency disaster.

NAECHY Legislative Alert

Historic Gains for Homeless Children and Youth: U.S. House Passes ESEA Reauthorization; Senate to Vote Next Week

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” (ESSA) by a vote of 359-64. ESSA is the House-Senate compromise legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program.

ESSA includes nearly all of NAEHCY’s recommendations to strengthen and improve the education of over 1.3 million children and youth experiencing homelessness, from early childhood through high school graduation. It incorporates best practices from states and school districts across the country to increase the identification, enrollment, stability, and school success of children and youth experiencing homelessness. ESSA increases resources for homeless students by expanding the availability and use of Title I Part A funds, and by raising the authorized funding level for the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program.

ESSA also includes nearly all of NAEHCY’s recommendations to provide children and youth in foster care with core protections for school stability and school access through a statutory vehicle  that is separate from the McKinney-Vento Act, and that outlines clear, distinct, and appropriate responsibilities for both the education and child welfare agencies.

Taken together, these amendments will assist students experiencing homelessness to enroll in and attend school, complete their high school education, and continue on to higher education—their best hope of avoiding poverty and homelessness as adults.

NEXT STEPS:  The legislation will now move to the U.S. Senate, where it is likely to be voted upon next week. If the legislation passes the U.S. Senate, it will be sent to President Obama for his signature and enactment.

The amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act and Title I Part A, among others, will go into effect on July 1, 2016.

BILL SUMMARY AND TEXT: For NAEHCY’s summary of the major amendments on homelessness and foster care in the Every Student Succeeds Act, click here. For the full text of the legislation, click here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Barbara Duffield, Director of Policy and Programs, at or 202.364.7392, or visit the NAEHCY website at

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