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Issues and Voices that Matter February 17, 2010

Homeless Students in Seminole County Florida

Homeless Students in Seminole County

Hear Beth D. Davalos on the issue of homeless students in Seminole County Florida public schools. Ms. Davalos is the staff liaison for a Seminole County school system project known as Families in Transition. After Ms. Davalos presentation, she responds to questions from the audience. Feature Length — 44:21

Produced and edited by Stephen McKenney Steck. League event coordinators: Mercedes G. Bermejo and Patricia Graves
Selected photos: GK Sharman



Beth D. Davalos, presenter and staff liaison, Families in Transition (CMF Pub Media photo)
Beth D. Davalos
Presenter and Staff Liaison, Families in Transition
Seminole County Florida Public School System



Selected Pictures Photo Credit – GK Sharmin

After you launch the slideshow below, click “Next” and “Previous” to rotate through the photos.

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Relevant Documents and External Links on Subjects Addressed by Beth D. Davalos

Panel Discussion Summary

At the January 28, 2010 “Hot Topics” luncheon for the League of Women Voters, Beth Davalos of the Seminole County Florida Public Schools was the guest presenter. Ms. Davalos, a school social worker, directs the program for homeless students called Families in Transition. This program provides services to homeless students attending Seminole County Public Schools.

In 2003 only 3 students were faced with concentrating on academic achievement while also facing the anxiety and embarrassment of homelessness. Today in Seminole County schools there are 904 such students and the number is rising. They come from all areas of the county, from every city. Each child must find some way to make it through the school year in a situation of insecurity and tension as their family struggles to find shelter.

In the current economic situation many families with school age children have lost their home and have struggled to find living facilities. Seventy six percent of these families end up in shared housing with all the attendant over-crowding and loss of privacy. The homeless shelter in Seminole county separates families by gender and has too few beds even then, but 9% of the students live there. Many other families live in temporary shelter in a single hotel room.

As a result, these homeless students are performing 1.7 grade levels below other students. Twenty-one percent of homeless children become homeless adults. Their social life is almost non-existent because they can’t bring friends “home.”

Ms. Davalos’ not only presented the disturbing statistics but described the action taken by the schools to provide the unique services that these children in need. The passage of the McKinney-Vento Act set federal requirements and guidelines to meet this crisis. Services provided by Families in Transition include:

  • Continuation in their school of origin no matter where they moved to find shelter so they don’t have to disrupt their school environment. Transportation provided
  • Free breakfast and lunch each day
  • Some new clothing, backpacks and hygiene products.
  • Counseling and tutoring to help with academics and behavior
  • Coordinated assistance from community agencies at all levels of government.
  • Pathways to Home, a pilot program to provide 30 case managers to serve 130 homeless families.

Many families are new to the economic crisis of homelessness and don’t know where to turn. Each year the school system sponsors a Families in Transition event at Winter Springs High school where 300 volunteers and social service agencies gather to provide information and services to 900 local families who find themselves homeless or in need.

Leauge Links

15 Responses to “Homeless Students in Seminole County Florida”

  1. Deana Schott says:

    Please watch 60 Minutes tonight on CBS for a program featuring the children in Seminole County who are homeless. Here is the link on the Orlando Sentinel Article:,0,5106132.story
    and here is the link to a preview on the CBS website:;cbsCarousel

  2. Robert K. Mowery says:

    Good Evening!

    is it possible to have Ms.Davalos’ get in contact with me concerning a donation and where to send it….maybe some way by making this donation spur others to give to these kids in need? Thank you ken

  3. Felix Kanapesky says:

    I saw the 60 miniutes TV segment and woudl like to help one of the families in the segment. Please advsie how i migh make a direct contribution.


    Felix Kanapesky

  4. Patricia DelBene says:

    I am writing in reference to tonight’s 60 Minutes episode with the homeless families in your area. I was heartbroken to see those children and the pain they are enduring. Please let me know how I can help, especially that little girl whose dad has been out of work for a couple of years. I cried watching the entire story.
    Thank you.

  5. steck says:

    Ms. DelBene - You may wish to contact “Families in Transition” and visit their web site here —

    Stephen McKenney Steck, producer, CMF Public Media

  6. steck says:

    Mr. Kanapesky, you may wish to visit the “Families in Transition” web page at this link —

    Stephen McKenney Steck, producer, CMF Public Media

  7. steck says:

    Mr. Mowery, you may wish to visit the “Families in Transition” web page at this link —

    Stephen McKenney Steck, producer, CMF Public Media

  8. DJ jones says:

    I saw the report on 60 minutes, and would like to make a monthly donation, how do I get intouch with Miss Davalos ?

  9. steck says:

    Visit the “Families in Transition” web page . Contact and links to donate are provided on their site. Thanks for your willingness to step up!
    s/Stephen McKenney Steck for CMF Public Media

  10. Rafael Mercado says:

    I have two empty bedrooms and when I saw those two teenagers washing up in the gas station broke my heart. I have two empty bedrooms, and would like offer them to the family, however, I live in Miami.

  11. joe b says:

    We represent a Christian Radio Station in New Jersey and would be interested in helping.

    Please contact us at your convenience.

    Sincerely, Joe B

  12. joe b says:

    Dear Representative,

    We represent a Christian Radio Station in New Jersey and would be interested in helping.

    Please contact us at your convenience. Our phone number is 856 497-4200 or 888 285-9807.

    Also, we would like to talk with Beth Davalos.

    Sincerely, Joe B

  13. steck says:

    Hello Joe B,

    You may contact Ms. Davalos through this web link —

  14. claire frankel says:

    i have tried to contact beth but her email is not functioning. i would like to send a contribution. what is the best way of doing that/ please respond. claire frankel

  15. steck says:

    Click on the “donate” tab on the right side of their web page at this link You might also use the “contact” link found in the banner across the top of the web page. You’ll find phone numbers and email info there.

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