During the 2016-2017 school year, the New York City schools saw more than 111,000 students coming to school but having no permanent home to go to after classes end. City Council members along with advocates called on the Education Department officials to provide more social workers for these students.
Students who do not have a stable, permanent home to live in, suffer with their school work when compared to students who have a home. The Council and other members of the City Hall want to see support improved for these kids, beginning with more social workers. The Education Department states they currently have forty-three social workers assigned to the homeless student situation and are planning on adding an additional ten.
Allies for the students say this will not meet the needs. They are asking for an additional one-hundred social workers be hired to care for the homeless needs. If money is an issue, they say it is money well-spent. Social workers can follow-up on the needs of these kids and make contact with their parents to ensure the kids attend classes.
One of the Council Members states the City can afford the seven million it will cost to hire the necessary social workers. Miranda Barbot, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, says it plans to increase its service investments for kids living in shelters to almost twelve million for the 2019 fiscal year.
An essential part of the Education Departments ongoing interagency work is to get more kids into temporary housing and provide bus services for those in kindergarten through sixth grade. They are also working on improved school-based health services, and Afterschool Reading Club and attendance monitors.
The Mayor’s administration has been working hard to stop or reduce the number of homeless families in the city. Homelessness has become a serious problem in the city for families with children. In one audit conducted by the City, it was addressed how the department of education deals with homeless students and their lack of attending classes.
The audit showed the department of education was not following up on the absentee of homeless kids. Parents of these students were not being contacted to alert them of their child’s absence from school which for some students was days at a time. With an increase in social workers within the school system, this issue can be dealt with more adequately.