Press Release
May 5, 2019

PRIB: Binay pushes for education of homeless children, youth

Homeless children may soon be given an opportunity to go to school regardless of their previous school records if a bill Senator Nancy Binay is working on will be enacted into law.

Binay said Senate Bill No. 2028, otherwise known as an Act to Improve Access to Preschool, Primary, and Secondary Education of Homeless Children, seeks to authorize the Department of Education to provide funds to the local government units for the education of homeless children and youth.

"Education is a fundamental human right of every Filipino, especially for the helpless and homeless children and youth. It is imperative that the government improve the accessibility of preschool, primary and secondary education for homeless children and youth," Binay said.

Binay said the education of homeless children and youth are often neglected because they either lack a fixed or adequate residence, live in emergency or transitional shelters, share house with other persons due to loss of housing and economic hardships, abandoned in hospitals or await foster care placement.

She said children and youth who live in cars, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, train stations or similar settings should be given access to education so they can uplift their lives.

Under the proposed measure, the secretary of education shall grant funds to eligible local government units for the improvement of the identification of homeless children and youth and to enable them to enroll in, attend, and succeed in school, including early care and education programs, particularly in prekindergarten and preschool programs. It also calls for the establishment or designation of an Office of the Coordinator for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.

The funds shall also be used to improve the provision of comprehensive education and related support services to homeless children and youth and their families and to minimize education disruption as well as coordinate activities and collaborate with educators, special education personnel, child development and preschool program personnel.

The bill also proposes that all public elementary and secondary schools shall immediately enroll the homeless child or youth, even if he or she is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment, including previous academic records, records of immunization and health screenings and other health records, proof of residency or guardianship or other documentation, has unpaid fines or fees from prior schools or is unable to pay fees in the school selected.

The enrolling school shall also immediately contact the school last attended by the child or youth to obtain relevant academic and other records.

Information about the homeless child's or youth's living situation shall be treated as a student education record, and shall not be released to employers, law enforcement personnel or other persons or agencies not authorized to have such information under laws and administrative issuances.

"Local governments shall identify and prioritize homeless children for enrollment and increase their enrollment and attendance in early care and educational programs, including reserving spaces in preschool programs for homeless children, conducting targeted outreach to homeless children and their families, waiving application deadlines, providing ongoing professional development for staff regarding the need of homeless children and their families and formulating strategies to serve the children and their families," Binay said.

News Latest News Feed