ARIN IU 28: Ensuring Education Services for Homeless Children and Youth

Children can become homeless for many reasons, including house fires, domestic violence, eviction, or a parent’s job loss. The ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 operates one of Pennsylvania’s first rural homeless programs, helping homeless children stay on track academically even while their families strive for stability.

ARIN’s program began in 1992, serving Armstrong and Indiana counties. In 2005-06, the program grew to support the education of homeless children and youth in 11 counties in what is now known as Region #6 of Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH) network.

Homeless students have such rights as continuing their education in their own school, immediate enrollment in the school district where they are temporarily housed, participating in school functions, and help with school-related costs. ARIN’s supports include emergency transportation, school supplies, year-round tutoring, parent workshops, training, and agency referrals that help school districts, shelters, Head Start programs and other community agencies meet their responsibilities.

As part of its mission to raise awareness about the needs of homeless children, ARIN’s ECYEH program invited school districts to make blankets for homeless children in the region. Made by children for children, the blankets provide a bit of warmth and security for students living in unstable situations. Students have also sold t-shirts to raise funds for homeless children.

Pennsylvania’s ECYEH program is federally funded under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001.

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