School-based service delivery for homeless students: Relevant laws and overcoming access barriers

Michael L. Sulkowski, Diana K. Joyce-Beaulieu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Schools in the United States are facing a record number of homeless students. These students are highly at-risk for experiencing negative life outcomes, and they face considerable academic and social-emotional functional impairments. To help address the complex needs of homeless students, this article reviews the intersection of laws and practices that impact homeless students, as well as contemporary school-based service delivery efforts to support the academic and socialemotional needs of these students. In addition, this article also reviews several barriers to schoolbased service delivery for homeless students and ways to overcome these barriers. These barriers include confusion regarding consent and record-sharing procedures, ineffectively utilizing homeless liaisons, and misapplying tenants of Multitiered Systems of Support (MTSS), which is a school-based service-delivery framework that has been adopted by and implemented in many U.S. schools. Ultimately, this article aims to provide members of school communities with practical information that they can use to support the homeless youth they encounter and serve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-719
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


  • Homeless students
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  • Multitiered systems of support
  • School-based service delivery
  • Special education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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