Homeless assistance act

Subject: Sociology
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 6
Word count: 1537
Topics: Bill of Rights, Child Abuse, Homelessness, Human Rights


The main objective of this paper is to address the issues relating to children’s rights in the US. The main governing legislation is called the McKinney-Vento act. The act was mainly formulated in order address the issues relating to safeguarding and the enhancement of the welfares of the homeless children. Among the children population, the main populations of interest included those who share accommodation facilities resulting from the economic problems which lead to housing issues. Also included are the ones staying in hotels or campsites as a result of the absence of alternative solutions, and also those sheltering in provisional housing facilities. Furthermore, the children whose main shelters during the nighttime are not the conventional structures and those who shelter in abandoned vehicles, buildings, and places were also included (Reynaert, Bouverne-De Bie & Vandevelde, 2017). The legislation was passed in the year 1987, and was the first of its kind. After the initial administration, the regulation has been authorized on multiple occasions.  Violation of the children’s rights has been determined to be prevalent in countries all over the word. Based on the issue, some of the other factors that have also affected populations in various ways include child prostitution, child poverty, and child trafficking among others. The function of this study is therefore to address how the issue affects the various social dynamics in different ways (Quennerstedt, 2017).

Historical Perspective

The issue of children’s rights protection has undergone several transformations throughout the course of history. As a result, the matter was then brought to the attention of human rights activists as well as the legislators. The historical situations marking the changes may also be said to have factored in on the transformation of the matter. For instance, since the amendments were signed by President Ronald Reagan, it can be argued that his tenure marked a period where support for the human rights movements was more prevalent as compared to the others. The first instances of the legislations did not include the requirement to safeguard the rights of the children against discrimination (Such & Walker, 2017). The origin of the legislation mainly addressed the field of public education, where the Illinois state passed a bill which addressed the ability of the homeless children to access education. The legislations were written by an attorney who was also an activist for the children’s rights. Consequently, the legislation was then absorbed into the McKinney Act. The act describes children as persons who are devoid of the sufficient sheltering places.

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The historical background of the protection of the children’s rights dates back to the time in which the European settlers first set camp in the country. Therefore, the laws relating to the protection of the children at the period prior to the 19th century did not fully conform with the modern human rights standards. In the course of the 19th century, there were several child laborers in the American industries. For instance, these included the mining and the textile industries among others. The problem shifted from an individualized one into a societal issue in the 20th century when several groups started campaigning against child molestation. Hence, this later gained both state and national interest (Stoecklin, 2013).


Based on the issue of children rights, various societal aspects have had an impact on the societal perspectives on the matter. Furthermore, there are many societies over the decades which have stood up against violation of the rights of children. One of the main issues that has presented itself in relation to the issue is child prostitution, where the most affected are the female children (Roose & De, 2008). There have been several allegations concerning the rise of child prostitution the USA. A majority of the children were brought into the nation through illegal human trafficking business. Also a number of them are often lured in to coming to the US for better opportunities. The children need to be in the foster homes. The other issue is racism, where there have been concerns regarding the amount of money required to adopt children, where it has been established that the differences in the costs is linked to the racial differences. Children from a nonwhite background are offered for much cheaper prices under the premise that they are more difficult to be absorbed into the foster homes. Claims have also been made to suggest that the children are often subject to disparities in the way they are traded while in the foster care (Quennerstedt, 2010). Thus, they do not equally benefit from their stays. Child poverty is the other issue that the US government has sought to resolve. Children borne out of poverty do not always enjoy similar privileges to those coming from the more affluent families.

Advocacy Actions

For the reforms to be attained, there have been concerted efforts from the various advocacy movements. For instance, the Human Rights Movement is one such organization within the US which has sought for the intervention of the courts in order to safeguard the welfare of the homeless children. An example of other activism groups that support the matter include the American aid and the Build Initiative. The main proponent of the legislation process is the ACLU, which has gained popularity over the numerous actions with which it has implemented in order to uphold the rights of the homeless children. On the international scale, the United Nations CRC department ensures that the children’s rights are safeguarded in all countries (Smith, 2007). The organization was established in the year 1989, and since then it is only the United States and Somalia which have not met the required standards of the organization regarding the children’s rights.

Displaced children have faced diverse issues. For instance, there have been cases in which the children were forced to live in unforgiving conditions. The group collaborates with the locally available child advocates who extensively analyze the conditions with which the children are subjected to that may lead to the occurrence of the psychophysiological issues which they have been tasked to prevent in the first place. The groups also come up with solid cases against the offenders, and seek to come up with long-lasting mitigation measures. After negotiating the issues in the courts, the organizations then seek ways with which the children may be treated in much better ways. Due to the various measures that the organizations employ, they have brought forth improvements which have not only been beneficial to the children, but also upgraded the conditions of the foster care facilities all over the US.

Policy advancement

As a result of the implementation of the statute, there have been may reforms in the US today. For instance, there has been a provision of free transportation service to all the homeless children across the learning facilities in the country. Furthermore, this provision has ensured that the children have been offered the freedom to attend the institutions which they used to go to prior to being homeless irrespective of the places where their families might have been located. Furthermore, the children may also be admitted into the institutions regardless of whether they do not possess the relevant documentations. For instance, these might include the evidences certifying their immunizations or confirming their places of residences. Also, in order for the regulations to be implemented by the states, the law requires that a coordinator is established, whose main functions are to analyze the policies and to also formulate any necessary procedures. All these actions ought to be done to ensure that all the homeless children in the states are provided with education services. Officers at the local levels should also be employed to ensure that any families having the homeless children are contacted within their areas of jurisdiction.

The legislation is a conditional funding policy. Through this, the federal government has the right to provide or withhold funding programs to the states based on their decision to embrace them. Thus, the decision of a state not to comply with the legislations is acceptable, hence they will not receive the required grants used to facilitate these operations. Despite the fact that some states have readily complied with the requirements of the policy, the others are not living up to the required standards due to their failure of exercising the required legislations. Hence, many lawsuits have been carried out.

Research has also indicated that a number of children’s rights are also violated while in their own families. Thus, intervention measures are required to be employed in such cases. Despite the fact that a couple of children normally find themselves in good homes, there are many unlucky ones whose lives are threatened while in the foster homes. However, due to the implementation of the required legislations, there has be a lowered number of cases of child abuse. Also, better investigative mechanisms have been employed when any case of child abuse is reported (Freeman, 2007).

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As the study above shows, it is of paramount importance to uphold the rights of children. Due to the activity of various groups, there has been some considerable progress. However, to ensures that the issues present are solved, the citizens themselves should act in ways that will ensure that the protection of children’s rights becomes a reality.

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  1. Freeman, M. D. A. (2007). Taking children’s rights seriously. Children & Society, 1, 4, 299-319.
  2. Quennerstedt, A. (2010). Children, But Not Really Humans? Critical Reflections on the Hampering Effect of the “3 p’s”. The International Journal of Children’s Rights, 18, 4, 619-635.
  3. Quennerstedt, A. (2014). Children’s Rights Research Moving into the Future – Challenges on the Way forward. The Future of Children’s Rights, 106-120.
  4. Reynaert, D., Vandevelde, S., & Bouverne-De, B. M. (2009). A review of children’s rights literature since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Childhood, 16, 4, 518-534.
  5. Roose, R., & De, B. M. (January 01, 2008). Children’s rights: a challenge for social work. International Social Work, 51, 1, 37-46.
  6. Smith, A. B. (2007). Children and Young People’s Participation Rights in Education. International Journal of Children’s Rights, 15, 1, 147-164.
  7. Stoecklin, D. (2013). Theories of action in the field of child participation: In search of explicit frameworks. Childhood, 20, 4, 443-457.
  8. Such, E., & Walker, R. (2005). Young Citizens or Policy Objects? Children in the ‘Rights and Responsibilities’ Debate. Journal of Social Policy, 34, 1, 39-57.
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