Legal Issues: Unaccompanied: students not with a parent or legal guardian Homeless: If they meet the same definition of homelessness as other students
Runaway, pushed out, and unaccompanied youth are a growing proportion of children in homeless situations They often know what they are running from, but have no realistic idea of what they are running to. YOUTH ARE HOMELESS
Runaway and kicked-out youth often experience abuse, neglect, conflict, vulnerability, loss and trauma This often results in a student that has difficulty focusing, attending, sitting still, keeping up, participating, having resources Runaway Youth are Unaccompanied and Homeless
Barriers to Educational Success Frequent school changes - sets child back academically 4-6 months with each change Misses school due to: extreme mobility lack of transportation poor health system requirements Lack of consistent advocacy for educational needs
Lack of school records/birth certificates Lack of immunizations/immunization records Barriers to Enrollment & Attendance Lack of transportation Lack of information regarding rights and choices Lack of school supplies Lack school clothing
Barriers to School Success Place to do homework Ability to concentrate Resources to do extracurricular and enrichment activities Mental health resources: trauma PTSD, mental health adaptations to situation Physical health care
Unaccompanied Youth face additional barriers: Barriers to Enrollment-- Youth Attendance policies Secondary school credit accrual Lack of parent or guardian’s signature
Doubled Up & Unaccompanied: MV Eligible? Susan, age 16, has an altercation with her mother and leaves home. She stays with various friends a few nights here and a few nights there. She attempts to enroll in the district where her boyfriend attends. The registrar tells her she cannot enroll herself and must go back to the school of residency where her parents live. Is the registrar correct that a 16 year old cannot enroll her self? Is Susan MV eligible? Must the school report Susan as a runaway?
Doubled Up & Unaccompanied: MV Eligible? Bob is 16 years old. He gets into a fight with his father, an affluent lawyer in town. Bob’s father tells his son to just “get out”. Bob goes to stay with a friend. He spends a few nights on his friend’s couch, then moves on to stay in the garage of another friend. Bob’s teacher learns about his situation and calls you the homeless liaison to see what can be done to help Bob. Is Bob unaccompanied? Is he McKinney-Vento eligible? Would it make a difference if Bob ran away instead of being kicked out? What if Bob’s father calls threatening to sue the school if they enroll Bob without his parent’s permission?
Doubled Up & Unaccompanied: MV Eligible? Sam is 16 years old. He has stayed with various friends after leaving his emotionally abusive stepfather’s house about three weeks ago. Last night his friend told him he could no longer stay with him. Sam has identified another friend he thinks he can stay with, but that friend lives in another school district. Sam has been attending school regularly and is mostly not tardy. He does well in school, but could likely do better if he was in a more stable situation. He is afraid to draw the attention of authorities as he fears being placed in foster care. How would you talk to Sam about his living situation? How would you talk to Sam about his school situation? How would you advocate with Sam’s current school so that he can remain there.
Must the district enroll an unaccompanied youth? Yes! Can the school require parent or guardian permission? No! What are the liability issues? Not following the law!
When might an unaccompanied youth not be homeless? When a parent or legal guardian makes “arrangements” for the youth to stay in out-of-home accommodations
Understanding The Law
The Laws: McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act Texas Education Code Texas Family Code
Definitions: Who is homeless? Definitions: Who is homeless? The Federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act says that children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence are homeless.
Who is homeless? Living in shelters
Who is homeless?Substandardhousing
Homeless? Not meant for human habitation
Who is homeless?Abandonedbuildings, streets, parks, camp grounds, cars
Who is homeless?Hotels/motels
homeless? Families living in doubled-up situations because they have lost their housing
Abandoned in Hospitals Awaiting Foster Care
Who is homeless? Who is homeless? Children and youth in temporary foster care while “awaiting” placement Who is awaiting, and who is in foster care and how do you know?
Awaiting Foster Care: MV Eligible? CPS asked the Jones family to take their grandchildren in while they investigate allegations of abuse against their mother. Are the children considered “awaiting” foster care? Are they MV eligible? How do you know? What questions should you ask?
Awaiting Foster Care: MV Eligible? Awaiting Foster Care: MV Eligible? The Jones’ family is a kinship home for their grandchildren who were removed from their mother’s care when CPS substantiated allegations of abuse. CPS has custody of the children, and provides services and financial support to the Jones family. Are the children considered “awaiting” foster care? Are they MV eligible? How do you know? What questions should you ask?
Awaiting Foster Care: MV Eligible? CPS has removed the Jones children and placed them in a foster home. This placement breaks down, so they temporarily move the children to another foster home while they search for another home that is a better match. Are the children McKinney-Vento eligible? What if they were moved to a shelter while CPS tried to find another foster home? home?
MV Eligible? Formal vs Informal Substitute Care What questions should you ask? Does CPS have custody/ward of state? Is the home licensed or certified? Is it a kinship or foster home? Has there been a home study? Is the family receiving financial support from CPS? If the answer is no = informal & MV eligible If the answer is yes = formal & not MV eligible
Awaiting Foster Care: MV Eligible? Awaiting Foster Care: MV Eligible? The Jones’ family is a kinship home for their grandchildren who were removed from their mother’s care when CPS substantiated allegations of abuse. CPS has custody of the children, and provides services and financial support to the Jones family. Are the children considered “awaiting” foster care? NO. Are they MV eligible? No. How do you know? What questions should you ask?
Are migrant students homeless? Only if they meet the same criteria for homelessness as other students
Undocumented Students Are students who are undocumented eligible for federal MV services? Yes, schools are not to ask questions about legal status, Plyer v Doe, 1982 ruling. They must meet the homeless definition.
Are children of deployed military personnel considered homeless? If children must move in with relatives because their parents deploy for active military duty are the children considered doubled-up and thus homeless?
Are children of deployed military personnel considered homeless? It depends on the child’s living situation. If the child is placed with a caretaker according to a plan made by the parents as required by the military, it is likely the child is not eligible. However, occasionally those plans “break down” if they were made a long time ago, or that caretaker is no longer available or in a position to provide stable housing. Again a case by case review is necessary to determine eligibility.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act defines and protects the rights of homeless students to enroll in, attend, and succeed in our public schools Services last the duration of the school year even if the student becomes permanently housed
Understanding what services schools must provide
Outreach and identification Enrollment Enrollment Services Services What Schools Must Do:
Posters and brochures on eachPosters and brochures on each campus where students enroll campus where students enroll School personnel trained to identifySchool personnel trained to identify Outreach into the community –Outreach into the community – contact service providers – places contact service providers – places where homeless families stay or where homeless families stay or frequent frequent Outreach and identification
The McKinney-Vento Act requires public notice of educational rights of children and youth experiencing homelessness disseminated in every school district at every campus -- and wherever services are accessed. Required Posting/Notification
Identification Use a student residency questionnaire
The McKinney-Vento Act mandates that... every school district is required to have a homeless education liaison, and the liaison is required to perform specific tasks.
Homeless Liaison Assist with identification and enrollment Help settle enrollment disputes Connect students to district and community services and community services
Immediate Enrollment “Immediate” not defined -<2 days Enroll homeless students even if they have no records Contact previous school for records 10days to send records 10 days to send records 30days to receive immunization records or start the process 30 days to receive immunization records or start the process
Immediate Enrollment Unaccompanied Youth Enroll homeless students even if they have no legal guardian Enroll homeless students even if they have no proof of residency
Immediate Enrollment Enrolled is defined as attending and fully participating, not just the students name on an enrollment list.
Immunizations Texas Attorney General’s Decision –30-day provisional enrollment –Liaison must help student obtain records or necessary course of immunizations
Choice of Schools School of origin: school in which student was enrolled when he/she became homeless or or where student was last enrolled.
Choice of Schools Homeless students may remain at school of origin or may attend school to which they are zoned.
Choice of Schools Notify all parents upon enrollment that in certain instances, their children may be able to remain at their school all year -- be sure to ask before changing schools. Parents must be informed before changing schools.
Transportation To and from the school of origin Comparable services Supplemental services tutoring enrichment summer school
Free Lunch Automatic eligibility for students in homeless situations – certified by homeless Liaison Immediate access Year long eligibility even if become permanently housed.
Dispute Resolution Enroll students if possibly homeless Gather information, then make determination of status determination of status Notify parent/caregiver/youth in writing of decision with appeal information – Homeless Liaison assists in writing of decision with appeal information – Homeless Liaison assists During appeal, student remains enrolled
Placement Decisions Work with Title I, Special Ed, gifted and talented and other programs Set up systems for prompt placement in special programs
Understanding Practices that work
Helping Service Providers Know the Law Know what services schools are required to provide in order to advocate for the student Build relationships Learn about each other’s issues/needs Create systems Share a holistic view and like goals Work mutually compatible service plans Share resources
THEO’S Role Guidance to Texas’ school districts for compliance, and service provision Training to districts and community Input on policy at the federal and state level Advocacy for students and families Web resources: THEO provides:
THEO’S Role Hotline: Barbara James: Jeanne Stamp: Tim Stahlke: Patrick Lopez: Janie Phillips: Contact Us: