Classes are back in session—and Children’s Law Center recently went “back to school” with the Washington Post’s Perry Stein! We experienced the shouts of excitement and saw best friends hug hello. As Pharrell’s song “Happy” blared through the hallways, we saw the faces of children who will benefit from recent education victories and were reminded of the work we still have left to do. Here’s a quick update on what we’ve been up to.
Homelessness & Education
The Children’s Law Center team advocated tirelessly for Lakia and her family. As a result, Lakia is receiving the special education supports she needs to succeed. In just one year, she was able to spring from a kindergarten to a fourth grade level in reading and math! The family is also searching for their new home with the housing vouchers they now have.
“Lakia is homeless and hasn’t had a permanent bed to sleep in for years, bouncing between friends’ and relatives’ homes. But each day, the 12-year-old completes her homework and prepares for school in the cramped room she shares with her mother and two sisters,” Stein wrote in her recent article.
Before we met her, Lakia’s special education needs had been sorely neglected. As a result, when she started the sixth grade, she tested at a kindergarten level in math and reading.
“Parents without stable housing often struggle to keep their children on track,” CLC attorney Diana Sisson shared with the Post. “Unfortunately, every move often results in delays or gaps in the student getting the services they are legally entitled to, or long delays in being identified for the services they need.”
Lakia is one of thousands of homeless children and students with special education needs in DC. Luckily, the law now requires students with special education needs to get supports they need, faster than ever. As for children who may need mental health services, this semester marks the launch of new school based mental health reforms in many schools.
Our advocacy won’t stop there, however. Our tenacious team will keep fighting for special education services, for a transparent school system, for unbiased discipline practices, for trauma-informed learning–and for everything that DC children need to learn. We’re looking forward to the school year, and to advocating for students like Lakia—students who just need the right resources to succeed.
Media Coverage that Counts
Interested in seeing what else we’ve been up to? Our colleagues work with journalists when it really counts. We help uncover unscrupulous landlords, share about education priorities that impact DC students, give expert input about DC housing and more. You can see our most recent media coverage here. To get live updates, follow us on Twitter!
*Children’s Law Center works hard to protect our clients’ confidentiality. Lakia's image has been changed. All other details are true.