The Hillsborough Migrant Education Program is a federally funded program that serves migrant children ages 3 to 21 years old and their families.

School can be difficult for any child, but if you factor in coming from a migrant family, it can be much more difficult. Hillsborough County’s Migrant Education Service Center, located in Plant City, serves migrant students and their families to make school easier for them.

The Migrant Education Program is a federally funded program carried out by the state. The purpose is to provide a range of activities and services to support the needs of migratory children, including identifying and recruiting migratory children, providing instructional and support services that help bolster and sustain the educational progress of migratory children and collaborating with other organizations and programs that serve migratory children. The Migrant Education Program has been in Hillsborough County for over 30 years.

The program serves migratory children ages 3 through 21 years old and their families. Supplementary migrant services include: identification and recruitment, advocacy, health and social services, academic support, parental involvement and family literacy.

Services are provided to eligible students based on the availability of funds, priority for services and need. The Migrant Education Program employs certified migrant advocates, teachers and migrant recruiters.

The definition of a ‘migratory child’ is someone who is younger than 22; has not graduated from high school, or does not hold a high school equivalency certificate; and has made a qualifying move within the preceding 36 months due to economic necessity from one residence to another residence and from one district to another district, and the child moved as a worker, with a worker, to join or precede a parent/guardian or spouse who is a worker.

Delma White, a migrant advocate with the program, said, “Migrant advocates provide information, guidance and support to migrant students and their families to facilitate their academic success. Migrant advocates establish collaborative partnerships with teachers, counselors, administrators, special program staff, parents and community agencies to ensure that migrant students attend school and have access to appropriate programs and resources.”

Each year, the program serves between 2,000-3,000 students.

White added, “We want the community to know that we support children in their education so that they may overcome adversities associated with a migratory lifestyle. Our goal is that they can break the cycle of poverty and become valuable citizens that contribute to the improvement of the community.”

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