WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., introduced two bills Wednesday that would direct more money to help homeless and foster children in school.
The measures would establish and bolster school liaison positions to work exclusively with homeless and foster children, allocate money to accelerate foster and homeless children’s enrollment and adjustment in school, and increase outreach and identification efforts for homeless children.
“A quality education can serve as a positive counterweight to the abuse, neglect and instability that homeless children and children in foster care have experienced,” Franken said in a statement.
“The loss of a home or the very placement of children in foster care has deprived many children of their opportunity to obtain a decent education,” he added. “It’s time that we listen to these youth and take steps to ensure that we don’t deprive homeless and foster children of their right to an equal education.”
The legislation would also forbid states from segregating foster children in school, unless the student has a disability that must be addressed in a different educational setting and require states to allow foster children to transfer and recover credits when they change schools.
“Foster children have a right to the same educational opportunities as other children in their community,” said Franken. “Right now, many foster children are falling behind their peers in school, losing hope, and ultimately dropping out.”