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McKinney-Vento Act Utilizing Federal Law to Effectively Educate Homeless Youth West Virginia Department of Education Attendance Director’s State Meeting.

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Presentation on theme: "McKinney-Vento Act Utilizing Federal Law to Effectively Educate Homeless Youth West Virginia Department of Education Attendance Director’s State Meeting."— Presentation transcript:

1 McKinney-Vento Act Utilizing Federal Law to Effectively Educate Homeless Youth West Virginia Department of Education Attendance Director’s State Meeting April 19, 2010 Frances Pack Kanawha County Schools Homeless Facilitator

2 Presentation Goals  Gain awareness of the issues of homelessness.  Understand the barriers homeless families face.  Review the roles and responsibilities of the County Attendance Directors as the LEA liaison under the McKinney-Vento Act.  Share process of identifying homeless students in Kanawha County Schools and eliminating barriers to those identified as homeless.

3 Who is the “Homeless Child or Youth”?  McKinney-Vento definition  Visible and Invisible homelessness *Visible homeless: Single adults living on the streets, some of whom have a chronic disorders such as mental illness and sub- stance abuse. *Invisible homeless: Homeless families usually female headed with children. *Invisible homeless: Homeless families usually female headed with children.  Homeless children – the invisible homeless – now as sizable a portion of the population as the homeless men that the public sees living on the streets.

4 Issues in Child and Youth Homelessness ►Educational Issues – Enrollment and Student Attendance ►Lack of Advocacy ►Assessment and Referrals to Special Education ►Isolation and Feeling Stigmatized ►Lack of Learning Environment

5 Educational Issues Enrollment and School Attendance  School policies, practices, and/or procedures may create a barrier to the homeless child’s enrollment to school.  Parents experiencing homelessness may believe that because they do not have a permanent residence, their child is ineligible to enroll in school.  Access to clean clothes, hygiene items, and basic school materials and supplies may cause the child to be reluctant to attend school.  Those children in domestic violence shelters may not feel safe attending school.

6 Lack of Advocacy  One of the greatest obstacles impeding the success of students in homeless situations is lack of advocacy, either by themselves or their parents.  Parents and/or students do not understand their rights under the McKinney-Vento Act, state law, and local policy.

7 Assessment and Referrals  The high mobility rate among children without homes prevents them from receiving appropriate and necessary assessment and referrals to educational programs and services such as Title I, Special Education, and gifted and talented programs.  Children and youth who live in homeless situations may not easily adapt to traditional classroom settings and may need special attention.  Many children experiencing homelessness are retained in school or drop out because schools do not provide them the opportunity to make up missed work or regain lost credit as a result of excessive absences caused by frequent moves.

8 Isolation and Feeling Stigmatized  Homeless students are often reluctant to make friends or participate in outside class activities due to their living circumstances. They do not want to bring attention to their current homelessness.  Homeless students living in a car, tent, motel or shelter may have limited access to extended family or friends, causing them to feel more isolated and alone.  Students exposed to violent situations may act aggressively and may not understand how to resolve disputes peacefully.

9 Isolation, cont.  Children living in constantly changing housing situations may become close to someone, such as a peer or teacher, only to be moved away at a moment’s notice. They become reluctant to make friends or develop relationships with others.  Homeless students usually cannot afford to purchase basic school supplies, such as paper, notebooks, crayons, etc.  Clothing may not be adequate or available to children who have been required to leave their home quickly, or lost belongings in a fire or flood.

10 Lack of Learning Environment  Homeless children often have little or no exposure to activities that stimulate and expand their physical and intellectual development. Because the parents are concerned with basic survival needs, they have little time to devote to those activities that develop their child’s psychomotor and cognitive skills.  Students in homeless situations may not have the opportunity to develop basic study skills.

11 Enrollment Barriers and Possible Solutions  Residency Requirements  Check state law for specific exemptions for homeless children and youth.  Hotel or motel receipt  Letter from shelter, community agency, or parent verifying homelessness and indicating location of residence.

12 Barrier and Solution  Original birth certificate requirement  Check state law for homeless student requirement for records.  Copies of school records, birth certificate, or birth date verification from social agency.  Affidavit

13 Barriers and Solutions  School records, including special education, IEPs  Accept parent report with phone call verification to previous school.  Have records faxed from previous school.  Immediate screening and placement when records cannot be obtained.  Internet site for previous school’s location, and phone number.

14 Barriers and Solutions  Health records and immunizations  Accept copies, phone calls, faxes, or references in previous school records as verification.  Assist family in contacting the local Health Dept. to obtain necessary immunizations and possible records. This is a requirement of liaisons according to McKinney- Vento.

15 Barriers and Solutions  Transportation  Develop a working relationship with someone responsible for arranging special education student’s transportation.  Establish procedures to receive information about transportation needs and pickup location of homeless students.  Utilize public transportation when school transportation cannot be provided.

16 Barriers and Solutions  Transportation  Train bus drivers and dispatchers on the rights and needs of homeless students, as well as on the need for sensitivity and confidentiality.  Plan for transportation emergencies with back-up support.

17 Barrier and Solutions  Identification  Student Residency Form developed for all new enrolling students.  Information posted at schools, shelters and motels.  Train school personnel on identifying characteristics of the homeless student. Especially those responsible for enrolling new student.

18 Liaison’s Responsibilities A. Ensure that public notice or the educational rights of students in homeless situations is disseminated where children and youths receive services. B. Ensure that parents or guardians are informed of educational and related opportunities available to their children, and are provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children.

19 Liaison’s Responsibilities C. Ensure that parents or guardians are informed of, and assisted in accessing all transportation services for their children, including to the school of origin. D. Help unaccompanied youth choose and enroll in a school, after considering the youth’s wishes, and provide the youth with notice of his or her right to appeal the school district’s decision.

20 Liaison’s Responsibilities E. Immediately assist in obtaining immunizations or record of immunizations or other medical records for those students who do not have them, and assure that students are enrolled in school while the records are being obtained. F. Ensure that homeless children and youths are identified by school personnel and through coordination activities with other entities and agencies.

21 Liaison’s Responsibilities G. Ensure that homeless children and youths enroll in, and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed in, schools of that local educational agency. H. Ensure that homeless families, children, and youths receive educational services for which such families, children, and youths are eligible, including Head Start and Even Start programs and preschool programs administered by the LEA, and referrals to health care services, dental services, mental health services, and other appropriate services.

22 Liaison’s Responsibilities I. Ensure that enrollment disputes are mediated as outlined in Paragraph (3)(E) of Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C et seq.)

23 Liaison’s Responsibilities  Policies and Procedures  Review local policies and procedures that may impact homeless children and youth, such as school enrollment, and access to school programs.  Revise local policies and procedures determined to be potential barriers for homeless children and youth.  Ensure that homeless student are identified.

24 Liaison’s Responsibilities  Enrollment and access to educational services  Ensure that homeless students enroll in, and have full and equal opportunity to succeed in school.  Ensure that homeless families, children and youth receive educational services for which they eligible, including Head Start, Even Start, and pre- school programs administered by the LEA.  Assist with enrollment dispute resolution cases and ensure they are mediated in accordance with the state’s enrollment dispute resolution process.

25 Liaison’s Responsibilities  Outreach  Ensure that the parent or guardian of a homeless child or youth, and any unaccompanied youth, is fully informed of all transportation services, including to the school of origin, and that assistance to accessing transportation services is provided.  Post educational rights of homeless children and youth in all school.

26 Liaison’s Responsibilities  Outreach  Post educational rights of homeless children and youth in the community where homeless families and youth may receive services (e.g. shelters, motels, public health offices and soup kitchens.  Inform school personnel, service providers, and advocates who work with homeless families of the duties of the liaison.  Collaborate with others that work with the homeless population. Example – HUD Continuum of Care.

27 Liaison’s Responsibilities  Unaccompanied youth  Assist unaccompanied youth in placement/enrollment decisions, including considering the youth’s wishes in those decisions, and providing notice to the youth of the right to appeal such decisions under the enrollment disputes provisions.  Ensure that the unaccompanied youth are immediately enrolled in school pending resolution of disputes that might arise over school enrollment and placement.

28 Kanawha County Schools Homeless Facilitator  Developed Student Residency form  Developed Housing Brochure  Distribution of Posters  Contact with Shelters and Homeless Programs  Developed Transportation Request form  What I have learned about homeless children, youth and families

29 HELPFUL WEBSITES  National Center for Homeless Education at Serve (NCHE)  National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)  National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH)  National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP)  US Department of Education  Texas Homeless Education Office (THEO)


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