JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING ACCESS TO STUDENT RECORDS FOR CERTAIN UNACCOMPANIED YOUTHS.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
REASONS FOR BILL:
The reasons for this bill are to permit unaccompanied students who are homeless to have access to their student records and medical records, in accordance with 42 USC 11434a. All educational services will be provided by the regional and local boards of education to homeless children and youth.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Cheryl Sharp, Deputy Director, Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO):
Ms. Sharp testified on behalf of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) in support of House Bill 7156 and indicated that the LGTB community makes up approximately 45% of the homeless youth population, while only 5-7% of youths identify as such. She advocated for homeless youths to have access to these records because simply having access to this without parental support open many doors such as furthering their educations or applying for work.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Ray Rossomando, Research and Policy Specialist, Connecticut Education Association (CEA):
Mr. Rossomando testified on behalf of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) in support of House Bill 7156. He indicated that the CEA supported protecting student data and the initiative to have youth have access to their records. The CEA also advocates for parents of students to have access to their children's records.
Mary Ann Haley, Deputy Director, CT Coalition to End Homelessness:
Ms. Haley testified on behalf of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness in support of House Bill 7156. She referenced the fact that Connecticut is second-to-last in the nation for identifying these at risk youth and that not being able to access these items can provide an unsurmountable barrier for youths in these situations that wish to further their education. She further references the McKinney-Vento law which is a federal law passed in 1987 as the first significant response from the federal government in regards to homelessness, grants "unaccompanied homeless youth" many rights including: the right to enroll in school on their own.
Liz Marie, Hartford
Ms. Marie testified on behalf of herself in support of House Bill 7156. She is currently a youth living away from her mother and she notes that while it is easier with a lawyer helping her out, it would be more conducive to her situation if her lawyer could have access to her records and ask that this bill be moved on.
Natalie Garcia, Youth Researcher, The Youth Action Hub:
Ms. Garcia testified on behalf of The Youth Action Hub in support of House Bill 7156. She indicates that many youths run away or move out due to deteriorating or abusive conditions and that access to their records would be a great benefit to them in regards to furthering their education or applying for jobs.
Carissa Conway, Director of Prevention and Intervention Services, Women and Families Center (WFC):
Ms. Conway testified on behalf of the Women and Families Center (WFC) in support of House Bill 7156. She referenced the WFC program known as Reaching Ever Adolescent to Create Hope (REACH) which provide services to runaways and homeless youth, specifically the fact that access to records is integral to the stability and advancement of these certain youths' lives.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Reported by: William Allen