Educational Services for Children in Domestic Violence Shelters: Perspectives of Shelter Personneledit
Thousands of school age children across the United States reside in emergency domestic violence (DV) shelters on any given day. Little is known about how DV shelters address educational needs of child residents. The McKinney–Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act specifies educational rights of children experiencing homelessness and requires that school districts employ liaisons to help them enroll and succeed in school. This mixed methods survey of 55 Texas DV shelters obtained shelter personnel perspectives on the quality of educational services provided to child residents and information on how shelters facilitated educational access (e.g., on-site schools, district schools). Quantitative and qualitative findings revealed high levels of satisfaction overall regarding educational services, including relationships between shelter staff and school liaisons, with barriers described by only eight respondents. Barriers concerned transportation, delayed enrollment, safety from DV perpetrators at school, and shelters’ lack of knowledge of homeless education policies. We discuss implications for future research and shelter and school practices.