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1 Homeless Education in Review a tutorial from The Office for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.

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1 1 Homeless Education in Review a tutorial from The Office for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth

2 2 Homeless Education in Review In Going to School Homeless you learned that Massachusetts schools identify 12,000 to 13,000 homeless students annually … only a portion of the estimated 50,000. In Supporting Homeless Students you learned that an average of 400 homeless cases come into the Office for the Education of Homeless children and Youth … only a portion of identified students. Homeless education liaisons are supporting the vast majority homeless students … which we greatly appreciate!

3 3 Homeless Education in Review This Review covers information provided in Going to School Homeless and Supporting Homeless Students. It includes: Ten questions every homeless education liaison should know. Is Tommy going to school homeless? How can we support Cathy? Jack’s new placement Technical Assistance/Support regarding homeless children and youth ESE has provided guidance to school districts in a series of Advisories referenced throughout this tutorial and available on our webpage at /.

4 4 Homeless Education in Review Ten Questions Every Homeless Education Liaison should know. 1.McKinney-Vento is a federal law that applies to all public schools across the country? True or False 2.Parochial schools and charter schools are covered by McKinney-Vento. True or False 3.Children in temporary transitional or emergency placements with DCF are said to be “_______________” and are considered homeless. 4.What information can be required to enroll a homeless student in school? 5.How has Massachusetts defined “to the extent feasible” when providing transportation to a homeless student?

5 5 Homeless Education in Review Ten Questions (cont.) 6.Are all families that live with friends or relatives homeless? 7.What is the key to identifying homeless students? 8.Who is responsible for setting up and covering the costs of transportation for homeless students? 9.Homeless students can return to any school they attended in the past. True or False 10.Why is service coordination so important?

6 6 Homeless Education in Review And the answers are … 1.True, McKinney-Vento is a federal law and applies to all local education agencies/school districts. 2.False, McKinney-Vento applies only to publicly funded school. So, charter schools are covered but parochial schools are not. 3.Awaiting foster care is the phrase in the legislation that Massachusetts has defined as “temporary, transitional or emergency” DCF placements ( 4.The only information needed to enroll a homeless student is emergency contact information for the parent/legal guardian. 5.Massachusetts has defined “to the extent feasible” as up to a one-hour drive one way (45 minutes for preschool/kindergarten children). ESE Advisory 2002-2 Enrollment of Homeless Students and School Records ESE Advisory 2002-3 School Selection and Transportation Requirements for Homeless Students ESE Advisory 2004-9 Children and Youth in State Care and Custody ESE Advisory 2007-9A Addendum to Children in State Care or Custody

7 7 Homeless Education in Review 6.Not all families living with friends or relatives are homeless. Doubling up must be due to “economic hardship, loss of housing or similar reason.” 7.The key to identification of homeless students is a well trained faculty and staff. 8.The district where the child is sheltered and the district where the child attends school are responsible for setting up transportation and sharing the costs. 9.No, homeless students may continue to go to the last school attended or the school where they became homeless though the law strives for education continuity. 10.Service coordination is critical because it increases the chances that homeless students will be connected with local resources that can address those needs that are beyond the school’s reach. ESE Advisory 2002-1 Definitions ESE Advisory 2002-3 School Selection and Transportation Requirements for Homeless Students

8 8 Is Tommy going to school Homeless? Tommy is in 4 th grade and started this year in good spirits. Over the last couple of months he has been arriving late and visiting the nurse’s room frequently. His symptoms have been minor and after a little quiet time and a check in with the nurse Tommy returns to the classroom. His mother has expressed concern but seems rushed and is not making eye contact. Today, one of Tommy’s classmates complained that he has been taking extra milk in the lunch line. Their teacher decided it was time to talk with Tommy but he didn’t have much to say. She has made note to follow up with the nurse and to try and reach Tommy’s mother. Could Tommy be homeless? How can you find out? What can you, as homeless liaison, do to support him? What could Tommy’s teacher or the school nurse do?

9 9 Is Tommy going to school Homeless? Clearly something in Tommy’s life has changed: he has gone from good spirits to needing check-ins with the nurse. His mother’s behavior raises even more concerns. Has something happened at home? Are they experiencing abuse or violence? Taking extra milk at lunch would suggest that Tommy’s family is experiencing some kind of hardship. Perhaps his mother is skipping the grocery store to pay the rent. Maybe the home has been lost altogether. How can you find out? The place to start is to talk to Mom. If assured of her privacy and confidentiality she may fill you in. The school nurse may already have a sense of what is going on. Some school social workers are able to do home visits and can look into a number of concerns. What can be done to support Tommy? Providing Tommy with as much stability as possible in school will go a long way. He may now qualify for free lunch. Tommy may need help with school supplies and Mom may need help finding resources for both of them. ESE Advisory 2002-1 Definitions

10 10 How can we support Cathy? On Monday morning Cathy and her mother arrived at the middle school and asked to enroll Cathy in 7 th grade. They had several of Cathy’s school records, her birth certificate and medical records. What they did not have was proof of residency. Cathy’s mother explained they had just moved into town over the weekend and did not have any bills yet or a copy of the lease. The school secretary is concerned that the address they list is on a busy highway with only a few fast food places a couple of cheap hotels and a shopping center. She is not at all sure Cathy is actually living in town or here to stay and she knows Cathy’s previous school has been declared underperforming. What should the school secretary do? Could Cathy be homeless? If Cathy is homeless what community services will be helpful?

11 11 How can we support Cathy? The school secretary is picking up on a couple of red flags: no proof of residency and an address that is not in a residential neighborhood. These are enough to ask the homeless liaison or a school administrator to meet with Cathy and her mother. The concern that Cathy’s previous school is underperforming sometimes nudges district staff to make assumptions. Our experience is that those assumptions are sometimes right and sometimes wrong. It is best not to jump to conclusions. Check the address and if the family is living in one of the hotels, regardless of whether they were placed there by the state or are paying their own way they “lack fixed, regular and adequate housing”: they are homeless. How do we support Cathy? Be sure Cathy and her mother know her rights as a homeless student. They may not realize she can return to her previous school. Be sure Cathy has what she needs to participate fully in school. Sign her up for free lunch and assist in collecting any documents she may be missing. ESE Advisory 2002-2 Enrollment of Homeless Students and School Records

12 12 Jack’s New Placement Jack is in10th grade and has been living in a local foster home and attending school in the district for a couple of years. Everything seemed to be fine but today Jack’s caseworker from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) called requesting transportation to school from another district. Jack has been moved and will not be returning to his foster home. Is Jack now awaiting foster care and homeless? How can you tell? What can you ask for? How much will DCF tell you? How can you support Jack?

13 13 Jack’s New Placement Like other homeless situations, each DCF case is unique and DCF is held to a high level of confidentiality. So while you may never hear the whole story there are a few key things that will answer our questions. One we already know: Jack will not be returning to his former foster home. To determine if he is “awaiting foster care” you need to know from the caseworker what his current placement is and what his intended length of stay is. Jack’s caseworker should be able to put that in writing on DCF letterhead for you. STARR and TCU beds are always considered homeless placements. They are 45 and 30 days respectively and though they may run over, they are not intended to last. Likewise, a temporary foster placement is meant as a safe place for the child only until a more appropriate long term placement can be found. As a general rule we expect the placement to last weeks not months – four to eight weeks but not four to eight months. ESE Advisory 2004-9 Children and Youth in State Care or Custody ESE Advisory 2007-9A Addendum to Children and Youth in State Care and Custody

14 14 Homeless Education in Review While each of these cases and the children that are attending school in your district are unique, schools can provide support by: Ensuring the educational rights of homeless students to enroll and attend school; Training faculty and staff regarding those rights and the impact of homelessness on learning; Engaging homeless parents in their children’s education; Providing any needed academic support; Connecting students with appropriate school services; Coordinating with community providers to address other needs; and Providing the opportunity to succeed. As always your questions and concerns are welcome at the ESE Office for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.

15 15 Office for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth The webpage includes: Updates on Homeless Education Tutorials on Homeless Education ESE Homeless Education Advisories Links to resources ESE staff provide Training and technical assistance on implementation of the law, Guidance on specific cases, Facilitation of the Dispute Resolution Process, and Compliance monitoring. We also work with other state agencies and community service providers to meet the needs of homeless children and youth. Sarah Slautterback, State Coordinator 781-338-6330 Elizabeth Harris, Student Support 781-338-6310

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