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Serving Young Children With Disabilities Who Are Homeless: IDEA and McKinney-Vento Hand in Hand. Identifying and Serving Children and Their Families: Vulnerable Populations Call 7 September 13, 2007 Diana Bowman, National Center for Homeless Education Patricia A. Popp, Project HOPE-Virginia.

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Serving young children with disabilities who are homeless idea and mckinney vento hand in hand l.jpg

Serving Young Children With Disabilities Who Are Homeless: IDEA and McKinney-Vento Hand in Hand

Identifying and Serving Children and Their Families: Vulnerable Populations

Call 7

September 13, 2007

Diana Bowman, National Center for Homeless Education

Patricia A. Popp, Project HOPE-Virginia

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Goals for Today IDEA and McKinney-Vento

Greater awareness and understanding of:

  • Challenges that face young children with disabilities experiencing homeless

  • Challenges for their educators and service providers

  • Intersection of IDEA, Part C, Part B, Section 619, and the McKinney-Vento Act

  • Importance of and strategies for collaboration between IDEA Part C and Section 619 and homeless education programs

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Challenges for young children who are homeless: IDEA and McKinney-Vento

  • Inadequate or unstable housing

  • Inconsistent and inadequate health care

  • Inadequate nutrition

  • Adolescent mothers

  • Disrupted or limited family support

  • Emotional stress or depression

  • Limited early childhood programming and waiting lists

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Challenges for young homeless children with special needs: IDEA and McKinney-Vento

Homelessness can have far-reaching negative impacts on a child and compounding impacts on a child with special needs

  • 54% of children in homeless situations experience some form of developmental delay

  • 40% of children living in homeless shelters are under the age of five

  • 15% of young homeless children are enrolled in preschool programs

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Parental involvement IDEA and McKinney-Vento

Family transience

Building trust


with families

Language barriers

Awareness of resources





Community awareness and buy-in

Coordination among programs

Limited resources


Challenges for educators and service providers:

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How does IDEA serve young children who are homeless? IDEA and McKinney-Vento

  • All students with disabilities who need special education are identified, located, and evaluated; applies to students experiencing homelessness, including infants and toddlers (Child Find)

  • Evaluation timelines when children move (Part B)

  • Early intervention (EI) and early childhood special education (ECSE) services must be provided

  • Surrogate parents and temporary surrogates

  • State Advisory Panel and State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) representation

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SICC – What Homeless State Coordinators Report: IDEA and McKinney-Vento

  • Online survey July-August 2007

  • 25 respondents

  • SICC Membership:

    • Members – 11

    • Nonmember, but participation – 5

    • Nonmember, no activity – 9

    • 6 were members 1-2 years

    • Attended 1-13 meetings; mean of 3.7

    • 10 have shared M-V information with SICC

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Who is homeless? IDEA and McKinney-Vento

IDEA now contains a definition of homeless children to include any children or youth considered homeless under McKinney-Vento (MV)

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Definition of homeless children under McKinney-Vento: IDEA and McKinney-Vento

Individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence

  • Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing

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

  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters

  • Abandoned in hospitals

  • Awaiting foster care placement

  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing

  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless

  • Unaccompanied youth who are living in situations described above

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How is the McKinney-Vento Act implemented? IDEA and McKinney-Vento

  • Every state has a State Coordinator for homeless education

    • NCHE Web site:

  • Every school district has a Local Liaison

    • Identifies homeless children and youth

    • Assists with enrollment and services, including preschool

    • Provides training to school and district staff

    • Creates community awareness and outreach

    • Helps parents be meaningfully involved

    • Collaborates with programs within the school district

    • Collaborates with agencies and service providers

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Provisions of McKinney-Vento that relate to young children: IDEA and McKinney-Vento

  • Equal access to the same public preschool education as other children

    • Liaisons to ensure that families and children can access public preschool programs, such as Title I preschool programs, Head Start, and other public preschool programs

    • State plans that describe procedures to ensure children have access to preschool programs

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IDEA and MV Collaboration IDEA and McKinney-Vento

How to put collaboration in place:

  • Get to know one another

    Share fact sheets, mailing lists, present at each others staff meetings, contact each other to make best interest determinations

  • Take advantage of existing vehicles for collaboration; create new ones

    Informal conversations, coordinating councils and advisory committees, presentations from both programs at surrogate parent programs and Parent Training and Information Centers, ask for support from regional educational centers

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IDEA and MV Collaboration IDEA and McKinney-Vento

  • Establish joint projects

    • Child find and identification team

      • Part C or 619 staff refer homeless families with school-aged children to the local liaison; the liaison refers homeless families with preschool-aged children to Part C or 619 staff

    • Mobility task force

    • Special education-homeless education policy academy;

    • Joint professional development projects;

      • Include information about EI and ECSE and the McKinney-Vento Act in school and program newsletters, handouts, and flyers

    • Public awareness activities

      • Develop posters and wallet cards about EI and ECSE services for homeless parents at schools, shelters, food banks, health clinics, etc.

      • Hold family-oriented community events with opportunities to screen infants and toddlers

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Issues to be Addressed IDEA and McKinney-Vento

  • Identify and address barriers that homeless children face in participating in Part C and preschool programs,

  • Identify appropriate partners for child find activities

  • Establish procedures for appointing surrogate parents expeditiously

  • Expedite evaluations

    • Prioritize homeless students on evaluation schedules

    • Consider living situation and any upcoming moves

    • Call to have records faxed immediately if evaluation was started

  • Establishing procedures to make IFSPs and IEPs as continuous as possible

    • Develop and implement interim IFSPs and IEPS for highly mobile children

    • Hold regular meetings with staff of nearby EI and ECSE programs and homeless liaisons to set procedures for homeless families that move across districts

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State Homeless Ed. Coordinator Requests IDEA and McKinney-Vento

  • Share contact information and meeting dates and location

  • On going communication – keep SC in the loop

  • The basics – “Part C 101”

  • IDEA guidance

  • Assistance to present to SICC, sharing among SC

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SC recommendations to increase effectiveness IDEA and McKinney-Vento


  • ED presence (e.g., guidance)

  • Policy briefs, fact sheets

  • Homeless presentations at EI and preschool conferences and EI/ECSE presentations at homeless conferences

  • Clarify why this is important

  • Sit down and start planning

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Resources Identified in IDEA and McKinney-Vento Virginia 619 Study

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Resources IDEA and McKinney-Vento

  • NASDSE ( – pdf available)

    • Project FORUM (1999 proceedings)

    • 2004 QTA Brief

  • CEC

    • CEC Today – March 2003


  • Project HOPE-VA (

    • Information briefs – special ed., ECSE


    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004: Provisions for Children and Youth with Disabilities Who Experience Homelessness;

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Contact Information: IDEA and McKinney-Vento

Diana Bowman, Director

National Center for Homeless Education

[email protected]


Patricia A. Popp, State Coordinator

Project HOPE-Virginia

[email protected]