Identifying students in homeless situations
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Identifying Students in Homeless Situations. McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Dr. Stephanie Wisener – Director for EL, Migrant, Homeless, & Preschool Services Information and Slides Provided by Homeless Director, Alabama State Department of Education . Key Provisions.

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Identifying Students in Homeless Situations

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Identifying students in homeless situations

Identifying Students in Homeless Situations

McKinney-Vento Homeless Education

Dr. Stephanie Wisener – Director for EL, Migrant, Homeless, & Preschool Services

Information and Slides Provided by Homeless Director, Alabama State Department of Education


Key provisions

Key Provisions

  • Every LEA must designate an appropriate staff person as a local homeless education liaison.

  • Local liaisons must ensure that children and youth in homeless situations are identified by school personnel and through coordination activities with other entities and agencies.

  • School counselors or registrars are key to identifying children and youth in homeless situations and coordinating with Marshall County Homeless Director, Dr. Stephanie Wisener.


Identification difficulties

Identification Difficulties

  • Family’s embarrassment by their situation

  • Students’ fear of being put out of school

  • Parents’ fear of having children taken away

  • Students’ fear of being stigmatized by peers and school personnel

  • Unaccompanied youth’s fear of being returned to unsafe family environments


Who is covered

Who is Covered?

Children who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence –

  • Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason (doubled-up)

  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations

  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters

  • Abandoned in hospitals


Fixed regular and adequate

Fixed, Regular, and Adequate

  • “What exactly do the terms fixed, regular, and adequate mean?”

  • Fixed: Stationary, permanent, and not subject to change

  • Regular: Used on a predictable, routine, or consistent basis (e.g. nightly)

  • Adequate: Sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in home environments


Who is covered cont

Who is Covered? (cont.)

  • Awaiting foster care placement (before being placed)

  • Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live (ex. Storage sheds)

  • Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, etc.

  • Migratory children living in above circumstances

  • Unaccompanied youth who are experiencing the above circumstances

    Homeless status is decided on a CASE by CASE determination…


Homeless unaccompanied youth

Homeless Unaccompanied Youth

Definition: a youth who meets the definition of homeless and is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian

  • Liaisons must help unaccompanied youth choose and enroll in a school, after considering the youth’s wishes, and inform the youth of his/her appeal rights

  • School personnel must be made aware of the specific needs of runaway and homeless youth


Where can homeless children attend school

Where can homeless children attend school?

Children and youth experiencing homelessness can, according to their best interest:

  • Enroll in any public school that students living in the same attendance area are eligible to attend

  • Stay in their school of origin

    School of origin – school attended when permanently housed or in which last enrolled


School stability

School Stability

Best Interest – keep homeless students in their school of origin, to the extent feasible, unless this is against the parents’ or guardians’ wishes


Enrollment

Enrollment

  • Homeless children and youth have the right to enroll in school immediately, even if they do not have required documents, such as school or medical records, proof of residency, proof of guardianship, or other documents

  • If a student does not have immunizations, or immunization or medical records, the liaison must assist in obtaining them, and the student must be enrolled in the interim

    The terms “enroll” and “enrollment” include attending classes and participating fully in school activities.


Enrollment cont

Enrollment (cont.)

  • Enrolling schools must obtain school records, but students must be enrolled in school while records are obtained

  • Schools must make records available when a child or youth enters a new school or district

  • LEAs must develop, review, and revise policies to remove barriers to the enrollment and retention of homeless children and youth

  • Federal law supersedes state and local laws where there is a conflict


Enrollment cont1

Enrollment (cont.)

The Marshall County School District utilizes a survey upon initial enrollment to help potentially identify homeless students

Upon completion of the survey, counselors or registrars identify surveys of students who may qualify as homeless

Counselors and registrars are a wealth of information. Homeless students may be identified at initial enrollment

These surveys are then sent to Stephanie Wisener, Homeless Director


When talking with families

When Talking with Families

Avoid using the word “homeless” in initial contacts with school personnel, families, or youth

  • “Homeless” evokes stereotypical images

  • School personnel may be unlikely to recognize students who are homeless initially but often know of students who are staying temporarily with relatives or another family, at motels, etc.

  • Families & students who are homeless may not think of themselves as homeless

  • Outreach materials should describe different living arrangements that qualify as homeless rather than simply refer to a person’s “homeless” status


Access to higher education

Access to Higher Education

  • Homeless youth may be designated as Independent Students in order to apply for federal financial aid without parental information (Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007)

  • Verifications

  • Local Liaisons

  • RHYA Shelter Provisions

  • Third Parties

  • Financial Aid Administrators – must use MV definition

  • Fee Waivers for ACT


Resources and help from nche

Resources and Help from NCHE

  • NCHE is the U.S. Department of Education’s technical assistance and information center in the area of homeless education.

    Website: www.serve.org/nche

    Helpline: 800-308-2145 or [email protected]

    Listserv – to join, contact [email protected]

    Online tutorials and trainings:

    http://www.serve.org/nche/training.php


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