PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF MOTIONS TO SUSPEND THE RULES -- (House of Representatives - September 08, 2005)
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Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Speaker, I support the rule and the underlying bills. I would encourage FEMA to work with the Department of Education to utilize the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program to meet the educational needs of all students displaced by this storm.
As we consider the rule and all of these bills, I think we have to remember the children. As part of the No Child Left Behind Act, the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program requires that school districts immediately enroll homeless children. It provides children with much-needed stability and allows for the delivery of other critical services, including such things as health care and counseling.
The bill also addresses school transportation issues, assures that eligible children participate in Federal, State and local food programs, and allows for frequent moving as evacuated families find more permanent housing.
When we included this provision in No Child Left Behind we, frankly, never contemplated that it could be so useful and effective at this time of national crisis. We have happily discovered over recent days that this measure has provided a ready-made system of communication and contacts and information networks that could serve us well in this time of need.
The program also contains a funding structure that efficiently distributes Federal dollars to the local level. Utilizing the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program would save time, money and allow more Federal dollars to flow more quickly to the areas in need. This program provides a tried and tested framework for States and school districts to meet the immediate educational and social service needs of homeless children displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Encouraging FEMA and the Department of Education to utilize this program to coordinate relief efforts is a commonsense step that can quickly and dramatically improve assistance to displaced children.
I would urge support for the rule and the underlying bill.
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