Tidal wave’ of homeless students hits schools

As the fiscal insanity of the last 8 yrs comes home to roost, we are left with millions of people who due to economic deprevation are forced into superhuman efforts JUST TO GET BY until the next day

OXNARD, Calif. - Nine-year-old Daniel Valdez is absorbed in “The Swiss Family Robinson,” the fictional story of a family shipwrecked on a tropical island. In real life, he and his family also are marooned, but there is little romance in their tale of survival in this seaside town northwest of Los Angeles.

Daniel, his mother and five brothers, ages 1 to 17, livein a garage without heat or running water in a modest, low-lying neighborhood that sits between celebrity-owned mansions in the hills and the Pacific Ocean. Each morning, they arise at 6:30, get dressed and then leave quietly; they return only after dark — a routine born out of the fear that detection could mean the loss of even this humble dwelling.

Daniel and his brothers have been sleeping in the garage for more than a year — members of what school officials and youth advocates say is a rapidly growing legion of homeless youth.

While the problem may be worse in economically stricken regions like Southern California, where foreclosures and job losses are taking a harsh toll on families, anecdotal evidence suggests it is a growing issue nationally and one with serious ramifications for both a future generation and the overburdened public school system.

Research shows that the turmoil of homelessness often hinders children’s ability to socialize and learn. Many are plagued by hunger, exhaustion, abuse and insecurity. They have a hard time performing at grade level and are about 50 percent less likely to graduate from high school than their peers.

“Homeless children are confronted daily by extremely stressful and traumatic experiences that have profound effects on their cognitive development and ability to learn,” said Ellen Bassuk, a Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor and president of the nonprofit National Center on Family Homelessness. “They tend to have high rates of developmental delays, learning difficulties and emotional problems as a product of precarious living situations and extreme poverty.”
Not only did they lose their homes. These kids will be paying for the insanity of debt based economy and the criminal Federal Reserve system for their entire lives.

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