Displacement is hard on families, but it especially hard on children. Studies suggest that 41 percent of school-aged homeless kids will attend two or more schools in less than a year, and 28 percent will attend three or more schools. As children are shuffled from shelter to shelter, school to school, access to tutoring, nutritious meals, and stable social relationships suffers. The City of Austin joins with local school districts to bring some level of hope and stability to these young lives.
Community Services for Children
Any Baby Can is an Austin-based nonprofit that strengthens families through a range of family support services, including parental counseling, resource navigation, and family support services. Visit the Any Baby Can services website to see if you are eligible. You can also call 512-454-3743 or email Info@AnyBabyCan.org.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Service (TDFPS) Transition Centers provide a central clearinghouse of one-stop services to serve the diverse needs of at-risk youth. The Austin Center is managed by LifeWorks Youth Resource Center. Drop-in inquiries are welcome at the Lifeworks Headquarters, at 835 N. Pleasant Valley Road, between Monday and Thursday from 10 am - 4 pm, but calling ahead is appreciated. Questions about services can be submitted via phone at 800-414-5457 or on the website.
Child Care and Pre-School Services
For child care services for working families, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) provides an online searchable database of both licensed child care centers or listed family homes (i.e., homes that are not licensed or registered by the TDFPS). You can also contact the Austin Child Care Licensing Office at 14000 Summit Drive, Suite 100, Austin, Texas 78728 or call 512-834-3426
The City of Austin and Travis County partner for the Child Care Program, which works with Workforce Solutions Child Care Services and Texas Rising Star 4-Star providers to provide subsidized child care for eligible families. Families need only to find a facility with an opening on the child care provider list and apply online at the Workforce Solutions Child Care Services website, or by calling 512-597-7191. There may be a waiting list.
School-based Services and Programs
The Austin, Pfluigerville, and Del Valle Independent School Districts provide assistance programs for students affected by housing displacement or homelessness.
Project HELP is a program of the Austin Independent School District (AISD) that serves displaced or homeless children under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (i.e., students experiencing hardship due to a loss of housing and living in substandard housing, shelters, or transitional housing). The three primary goals of Project HELP include: 1) providing services to an increasing number of AISD students, 2) maintaining partnerships with community collaborators, and 3) ensuring service strategies are student-centered and aligned with students being academically successful.
For more information on Project HELP, visit the website or contact AISD’s Department of School, Family & Community Education at 512-414-3690. For those needing translation services, AISD can facilitate discussion through its Language Line translation service which provides over-the-phone conferencing and language interpretation in more than 200 languages at all campuses. For more information on language translation or interpretation services, visit the AISD Office of Community Services website or call 512-414-9882.
Del Valle Independent School District
Homeless services for students in Del Valle Independent School District (DVISD) are managed by the Office of Homeless Liaison, which can be contacted through the Homeless Liaison website or by phone at 512-386-3110.
Pflugerville Independent School District
The Pflugerville Independent School District also a Project Hope program through its Social Work Office. Families who qualify to receive services through the McKinney-Vento Act should email the district’s Homeless Liaison or call 512-594-1953 or email the Project HOPE Social worker or call 512-594-1960 to begin the qualification process.
Texas Homeless Education Office, University of Texas at Austin
Texas Homeless Education Office is committed to ensuring that all Texas children in homeless or displacement situations have the opportunity to enroll in, attend, and succeed in school. In its efforts to accomplish this goal, the office provides a variety of services to school districts, education service centers, students, parents, caregivers, service providers, shelters, state agencies, advocates, higher education institutions, and other interested parties.
For more information about displaced student and parental rights and responsibilities in the state, visit the Texas Homeless Education Office website or call 1-800-446-3142.