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1 Unaccompanied Youth and Education: McKinney-Vento Eligibility Project HOPE-VA Youth Summit Older Youth Experiencing Homelessness June 2013 Barbara Duffield,

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Presentation on theme: "1 Unaccompanied Youth and Education: McKinney-Vento Eligibility Project HOPE-VA Youth Summit Older Youth Experiencing Homelessness June 2013 Barbara Duffield,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Unaccompanied Youth and Education: McKinney-Vento Eligibility Project HOPE-VA Youth Summit Older Youth Experiencing Homelessness June 2013 Barbara Duffield, NAEHCY Policy Director Patricia Julianelle, NAEHCY Legal Director

2 2 Guiding Principles Determining eligibility is a case-by-case determination made by examining the living arrangement of each individual student. Consult Project HOPE-VA for help and guidance! Protracted determinations of eligibility cannot delay immediate enrollment and the prompt provision of services for MV students. (See dispute procedures)

3 3 Eligibility—Who is Covered? Youth who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. The law lists a number of specific living situations that are covered. Other situations are also covered, if they are not fixed, regular and adequate.

4 4 What do Fixed, Regular and Adequate mean? Fixed  Stationary, permanent, and not subject to change Regular  Used on a predictable, routine or consistent basis Adequate  Sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in home environments

5 5 Specific covered situations Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason  AKA doubled-up or couch-surfing  Where would they go if they had to leave?  Being forced out of home by parents and running away from home are losses of housing  69% of identified students in VA

6 6 Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations  Motels: 13.4% of identified students in VA Living in emergency or transitional shelters  15% of identified students in VA Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings Specific covered situations (cont.)

7 7 Unaccompanied Youth Help MV eligibility is based on where the youth is currently living: Is it fixed, regular and adequate? A youth can be eligible regardless of whether he/she was asked to leave the home or “chose” to leave Often, there is “more than meets the eye” in a youth’s home life.  Are there reasons a youth might not want to reveal the truth about his/her home situation?  Are there reasons a parent might not want to reveal the truth about the home situation?  McKinney-Vento requires us to apply the definition in the law, regardless of our opinion about parents’ or youths’ decisions

8 8 Step 1: Get the Facts Avoid using the word “homeless”  Describe the living situation instead of labeling it. Provide awareness activities for school staff (registrars, secretaries, counselors, social workers, nurses, teachers, security officers, bus drivers, truancy/attendance officers, dropout programs, cafeteria managers, administrators, etc.)

9 9 Step 1: Get the Facts (cont.) Place posters and brochures in the office and community  Collaborate with community agencies and service providers Enrollment red flags  Questions about living situation: If the form indicates a possible homeless situation, refer to the liaison.  Youth enrolling on their own: Often indicates homelessness, refer to liaison  center.serve.org/NCHE/forum/enrollment.php

10 10 Step 1: Get the Facts (cont.) Watch for signs  Sleeping in class  Sudden drop in grades or increase in absences  Wearing the same clothes  Decline in personal hygiene  Arrives at school early, stays late  What are other signs?

11 11 Step 1: Get the Facts (cont.) Discuss the living arrangement in a private place and with sensitivity.  Who are good people to have this conversation?  What are some good questions to ask youth?  Why might youth not share their story?  Let youth know why you are asking about their living situation: not to invade their privacy, but to offer services.

12 12 Step 2: Analyze the Facts Does the student’s living arrangement fit into one of the specific examples of homelessness in the law?  If so, the student is eligible.  If not  Does the student lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence?  If so, the student is eligible.

13 Is student residing with someone who is not a parent or court appointed legal guardian? Why is the student with this person? Family was evicted; cannot find housing all together; parent placed student with friend/relative. Student left home due to danger; extreme conflict or was put out of home by parent Student eligible as UHY Parent is incarcerated and relative agreed to care for child Parent transferred with work; student wants to stay and finish school. Parent enrolled student, then left the area. Not eligible Student moved in with someone to play on particular team; be in band; go to magnet school, etc.. Not eligible Definitely Homeless Definitely Not Homeless Need More Information Parent’s work schedule was problematic so child stays with relatives for school. Were they homeless prior to parent’s incarceration? Is caregiver situation unstable, or inadequate? Family lost housing; parent placed child with relative/friend. Student did not change residence; caregiver moved in. Developed by M. Gay Thomas, MSW Coordinator School Social Work Services, Homeless Liaison, Virginia Beach City Public Schools

14 14 Real-Life Scenarios Tina was 8 years old when both her parents were sent to jail. She was sitting in the courtroom with her 14-year old sister. The judge pronounced the sentence and called the next case, with no provision for Tina and her sister’s housing. They went to live with an aunt who was willing to care for them, but whose own children had been in and out of foster care. The aunt never had legal guardianship over them. Is Tina’s housing fixed, regular and adequate? Is she McKinney-Vento eligible? Is she an unaccompanied youth?

15 15 Real-Life Scenarios- 2 Heather, age 16, is an excellent softball player. She just moved in with a friend’s family in your district, which happens to have the state champion softball team. Heather has said that she can’t get along with her mother any longer and decided to move out on her own. Heather’s mother says she is willing to have Heather move back home. How can you get more information about Heather’s situation? Who can you call?

16 16 Real-Life Scenarios- 3 Amanda, age 15, has arrived in your school district to live with her grandfather. Gramps does not have custody of Amanda and does not intend to seek legal guardianship or custody. Amanda’s father just called you to demand you not enroll Amanda in school. He wants her to come home. He says Amanda ran away and Gramps is actually an older male boyfriend. Amanda says her father kicked her out. Is Amanda eligible under these facts? What if Grandfather had hired a lawyer to explore getting custody of Amanda? If Amanda were, in fact, living with a boyfriend instead of a relative, what difference would that make? What will you do to help Amanda?

17 17 Why It Matters “…Through it all, school is probably the only thing that has kept me going. I know that every day that I walk in those doors, I can stop thinking about my problems for the next six hours and concentrate on what is most important to me. Without the support of my school system, I would not be as well off as I am today. School keeps me motivated to move on, and encourages me to find a better life for myself.” Carrie, LeTendre Scholar, 2002


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