Interview with Abby Rotter, School Nurse in a K-2 School in New York (Requested that School be kept anonymous)


1 – Q. Were any of the homeless children that you worked with often absent?

      A.Yes, they often were.

2 – Q. Did the school provide food for the homeless children?

      A. Yes.  Every Friday the school has packages of food for the children to take home for the weekend.

3 – Q. What happens when the families find a shelter or housing that is far from the school?

       A. I have an example to answer the question. Recently one family left and went to Alabama.  They came back and found some kind of housing that is far from the school. The child is often absent.

4 – Q. Do the children do their homework regularly?

        A. No.  Since they do not usually do it at home, the school now lets them do homework in school. Also in school, a teacher can help them.

5 – Q.  Do you think that there is anything else that the school should do to help them?

       A. The school does as much as they can.  Many of these children have social and emotional issues. We refer them to the school social worker and the school psychologist. We also have a bilingual organization that we refer them to. We also refer them out to agencies for different issues.

6- Q. I wrote an article about a new program that suggests giving homeless people who have mental issues or alcohol addictions homes before treatment. Do you think this policy would be beneficial?

      A. They need a safe place to live before they can get help with their issues. There are nonprofit organizations that come in that do psychiatric home visits, help them make their doctors appointments, and help them keep their doctors appointments. There is a great deal of noncompliance in the mental health community, but having a stable home is the first step to getting treatment that is necessary.

7 – Q. Thank you for answering the questions.                                                                                                                                              A. You are welcome.