Presentation on theme: "Ethical Considerations for Working with Unaccompanied and Homeless Youth"— Presentation transcript:
1Ethical Considerations in Working With Unaccompanied and Homeless Youth
2Ethical Considerations for Working with Unaccompanied and Homeless Youth AGENDADefinitionsIdentify unaccompanied youth needs and challenging situationsIdentify common ethical issues when working with homeless unaccompanied youth• Identify common ethical standardsIdentify possible solutions & application of ethical practice
3Are unaccompanied students homeless? Unaccompanied: students not with a parent or legal guardianIf they meet the samecriteria for homelessness as otherStudentsOften doubled-up, “couch surfing”Unaccompanied and homeless are two separate conditions that often coincide. Any child not in the physical custody of a legal parent or guardian is unaccompanied. There is no lower age limit. You can have an unaccompanied 6 year old. Most younger students come in with grandparents, other relatives or family friends. These people usually are not the legal parent or guardian. Older students may try to enroll on their own. When a student reaches age 18, he/she is considered a legal adult and thus no longer unaccompanied. However a student of any age, even beyond age 18 may be homeless and MV eligible.
4Definition of Homeless Youth? Must meet the McKinney-Vento definition of homeless: Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence:Doubled up -sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason, “couch surfing”Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to lack of adequate alternative accommodationsLiving in emergency or transitional sheltersAbandoned in hospitalsAwaiting foster care placementLiving in a public or private place not designed for humans to liveLiving in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, etc.Migratory children living in above circumstancesChildren of deployed military whose “plan” breaks down
5Who Are Homeless Unaccompanied Youth? Must not be in the physical custody of a parent or legal guardianIs there an age limit on serving homeless secondary students?MV applies to all school-aged youth (as defined by state law); typically states allow youth to attend school up to the age of 21 – in Texas this has been extended to age 26 in certain circumstancesTEA defines unaccompanied as under age 21 on September 1 of the school year – How does your state define unaccompanied for educational purposes?
6These youth are vulnerable to exploitation Runaway YOUTH ARE HOMELESSRunaway, pushed out,and unaccompanied youthare a growing proportion ofchildren in homeless situationsThey often know what they are running from, but have no realistic idea of what theyare running to.These youth are vulnerable to exploitation
7Why are Youth Homeless on Their Own? Over half of callers to Runaway Hotline report being physically abused at home; over one-third report sexual abuse; over two-thirds report that at least one of their parents abuses drugs or alcoholOther youth are thrown out of their homes because they are pregnant, gay or lesbian, or because their parents believe they are old enough to take care of themselvesSome children and youth are abandoned by their parents, or are on their own due to death of parentsSome children and youth are in unstable living situations due to parental incarceration, illness, or hospitalization
8Why are Youth Homeless on Their Own? Over half of youth living in shelters report that their parents either told them to leave, or knew they were leaving and did not careSome youth become homeless with their families, but, due to lack of space in doubled-up or motel situations, end up homeless on their ownNatural disasters cause youth to be separated from family during their homelessnessAging out of foster care into homelessness; running away from foster care placements due to abuse in the foster home, or to reconnect with siblings and family
9Impact of Homelessness on UHY Higher rates of acute and chronic illness, depression and anxiety; experiences of trauma and lossFor unaccompanied youth, lack of support from any caring adult leads to faulty decision makingUnaccompanied youth are frequently victimized. As many as half have been assaulted or robbed; one in ten runaways reports being raped – likely a low reportAccording to the National Runaway Switchboard, 5,000 unaccompanied youth die each year from assault, illness, or suicidePerform lower on academic assessments50% of homeless youth & 75% of unaccompanied homeless youth do not graduate
10Signs of Homelessness Tired, sleeping in class, lack of energy Poor hygieneWear the same clothes day after dayInability to concentrateDoesn’t turn in homework assignmentsDoesn’t complete special projectsIs frequently tardy or absentComes to class “unprepared”Change in behaviorIs angry, hostile, anxiousIs secretive, afraid to share informationMoves around a lotGrades fall off, gaps in learning
11Barriers to EducationHigh mobility: 41% will attend at least two different schools; 28% will attend three or moreUnaccompanied youth: lack of a parent or guardian to sign formsLack of school records and other paperworkLack of transportationLack of school supplies, clothingCredit accrual policies, attendance policiesLow expectations by family, schoolLack of stable housingEmotional crisis / mental health issuesEmployment - need to balance school and workFatigue, poor health, hungerConcerns about being captured by authorities
12RECAP MV: Must schools enroll children and youth in school if there is no proof of guardianship? Yes.Lack of guardianship papers cannot delay or prevent enrollment. Enrolled is defined as attending and fully participating. School districts may establish their own policies to meet this mandate.HOWEVER…Schools/districts cannot require individuals/caretakers to obtain guardianship of youth after enrollment, or within a specified number of days, in order for youth to remain enrolled and attending. How does your state/district handle this?
13RECAP: Must schools enroll children and youth in school if there is no proof of residence? Yes.Lack of proof of residence cannot delay or prevent enrollment. School districts may establish their own policies to meet this mandate.HOWEVER…Schools/districts cannot require proof of residency from those in homeless situations.Cannot require dual residency affidavitsHow does your state/district handle these “proofs”
14RECAP: Must schools enroll children and youth in school without previous school records? Yes.Lack of school records cannot delay or prevent enrollment. The enrolling school district must send to the previous district for the records.And…The previous district has 10 days in which to send the records. If the student has not been withdrawn previously, he/she is to be withdrawn from the previous district when they receive this request for records – how does your state/district handle this?
15RECAP: Must schools enroll children and youth in school without immunizations or immunization records?Yes.Lack of immunizations or immunization records cannot delay or prevent enrollment of students in homeless situations. The enrolling school district must send to the previous district for the records. Immunization records should be sent with the other school records, but must be presented within 30 days.or…If the student does not have his/or her immunizations, the Homeless Liaison must make arrangements for the student to begin them within 30 days. How does your state/district handle this?
16What obligation does a school have to help unaccompanied youth make up lost credits? Many youth lose credits due to mobility and absences—consequences of homelessnessMcKinney-Vento requires that schools and districts remove barriers to enrollment and retention and provide academic support—LEA policies should be revisedYouth should be provided academic support through tutoring, programs with cooperating universities, or online courses, for example; appropriate use of Title I set aside funds
17Who can make decisions for an unaccompanied youth regarding participation in extra curricular activities, field trips, etc.?States and school districts have implemented a variety of policies and proceduresYouth make decisions on their ownLocal liaison makes decisionsCaregiver forms allow other adults to make decisions – act in the role of a parentSchools assign a surrogate
18What are some ethical issues you encounter? Unaccompanied Youth Are OftenHomeless TooWhat are some of your biggest challenges when working with Unaccompanied Homeless Youth?What are some ethical issues you encounter?
19What Ethical Considerations might arise when assisting UHY to access the various services within your district?Within the community?
20Common Ethical Issues When Working with UHY Consent?Confidentiality?Who is the client?
21Common Ethical Issues When Working with UHY Record keeping & documentationBoundariesTrust buildingLeaving youth in unsafe situations
23Ethical Practices & Concerns Sharing information with schools, CPS, other service providersMaintaining boundaries and trust buildingMeeting in Non-traditional settings
24Ben and Cherry What are the barriers cited by the youth in this video Ben and Cherry What are the barriers cited by the youth in this video? What are some of the ethical considerations when working with the youth in this video?
25Ben and Cherry What are the barriers cited by the youth in this video Ben and Cherry What are the barriers cited by the youth in this video? What are some of the ethical considerations when working with the youth in this video?
26Common situations that have ethical implications when working with youth Meeting with youth in “non-traditional” settingsMistaking friendship for appropriate trust buildingKeeping Confidentiality – to whom to tell what? When the youth says “Don’t tell anyone.”Reporting abuse and neglect – concerns for youth safetyReporting runaway – concerns for youth safetyAddressing risky behaviors – if you do, will they leave?Giving Money, taking kids home, leaving youth in unsafe settingFailing to report or to act on information sharedDealing with “I only trust you” with certain informationIs adolescence synonymous with “borderline personality?”
27Common ethical principles when working with youth Dissonance: when your values differ from those of your client, your agency, your professional licensure, society at large. Example: abortion, HIV services, GLBT, etc.Confidentiality: issues with confidentiality that can particularly occur within residential, street, and home-based settings - who should be present when a home visit is occurring? What happens when other residents overhear information about a particular client? How do different agencies safeguard against this? Who needs to know which information?Referral: how to access other services for a client, without sharing confidential information? How to know when to access a referral, and how much information to share?Boundaries: are frequent issues within residential, community, and home- based settings, and when working with unaccompanied youth.
28Common ethical principles when working with youth Agency or professional policies and/or practices that are particularly helpful in addressing ethics conflicts.Do no harm – Understanding competencies: What tells social workers that they are working beyond their competence?Dual Relationships – business, social, relative, friends, etc.Language – What workers see and what they say frames the work for possibilities or barriers; labels, or enables the client.Informed consent – self consent for unaccompanied youth? At what age?Crisis work – what happens when you are in crisis mode? Does “business as usual” go out the door and what does this mean for ethical When are practitioners crossing ethical lines? When are boundaries fluid and when are they rigid? What information is too much to share, and what is not enough? Who does the youth worker look to for guidance in making ethical decisions in his/her work? How do crisis situations challenge ethical standards? Reporting, trust loss if you do; when safety and rapport building seem to be at odds.
29Unaccompanied Youth—Key Provisions Liaisons must help unaccompanied youth choose and enroll in a school, after considering the youth’s wishes, and inform the youth of his or her appeal rights – school of origin is the first considerationSchool personnel must be made aware of the specific needs of runaway and homeless youth.
30What about discipline and a homeless student? Generally students in homeless situations must follow the same rules of behavior as all other students, butIf discipline action was taken against a youth for reasons related to homelessness (for example, excessive absences caused by homelessness), the youth must not be penalized or denied enrollment and the policy should be revised
31Do schools have to contact the police when enrolling unaccompanied youth? State law determines the obligation of a school liaison or service provider to alert other agencies about unaccompanied youthMost state laws that address this issue (including Texas) permit, but do not require, schools to report unaccompanied youth; many laws also give schools the option to contact social services instead of the policeThe school district should work with police and social services regarding mandatory reporting to ensure that care is exercised to keep a youth in school and serve his/her best interest
32How does your district or organization handle: Lack of parental signature for field trips, playing sports, other activities, services?Who goes on the contact form?Who receives school notices & reports?Who gets called in case of illness, a behavior issue, or an emergency?Who is held accountable for poor school attendance?Who requests and attends an ARD?
33What about school liability or parental disapproval? Liability is based on the concept of negligence, or a failure to exercise reasonable care — following federal law and providing appropriate services are evidence of reasonable careSchool districts must follow MV and state lawsMaybe use example of something happening to youth off school grounds after school has refused enrollment-- the school could be liability for those injuries, and failure to enroll could be evidence of failure to exercise reasonable care.
34Can unaccompanied youth consent to their own medical treatment? Generally, only persons age 18 and over can consent to their own medical, dental, and health care; minors need consent of a parent or guardian – state laws varyThe Texas Family Code gives youth 16 or older who are independent of parents the right to consent to their own medical treatment.Texas Students of any age can access certain health and mental health services under certain circumstances, i.e., in cases of abuse
35Situations/Dilemmas Work as a group: Identify the youth’s needs, Identify the challenges in meeting those needsIdentify resourcesIdentify the:ethical principlesethical issues or concernsethical practices
36Scenario One: JeremyJeremy, 15, recently showed up with his friend, Billy, at Vento High School, where you are the Principal. He explained to you that he was staying with Billy for awhile, and wanted to go to this school instead of the school he was attending, McKinney High, which is in a different district. After some pressing, he explained that he had been kicked out of his home by his mom and stepfather. He said they knew where he was and “didn’t care.”
37Jeremy Is Jeremy “homeless” under McKinney- Vento? Why or Why not? What school(s) is Jeremy eligible to attend?How does the McKinney-Vento Act pertain to this situation? What services is Jeremy eligible for? Is there any responsibility in district policy or state or federal law to report Jeremy’s whereabouts?To whom are you supposed to report him and when?Does it make a difference if he tells you his mom hits him?What would be your responsibility if Jeremy’s parents contacted you and told you that he had left home without permission?
38JeremyWhat if Jeremy’s parents say they have reported him as a runaway, and they want him home? They ask you not to enroll him? How would you handle this? How would you code Jeremy in PEIMS? If his parents do not want him identified as homeless would you then not code him, or change his code?What if he was staying with a friend without the friend’s parental permission?What would you do to support this young person? What strategies would you use and what resources would tap?How would you work with your district to create the changes that are needed so situations like this can be responded to appropriately for all students who experience them?
39Situations/Dilemmas Work as a group: Identify the youth’s needs, Identify the challenges in meeting those needsIdentify resourcesIdentify the:ethical principlesethical issues or concernsethical practices
40Scenario Two: AntwanAntwan is a 14 year old first time 9th grader who has attended school for most of his life in the largest urban school district in the city (district of origin). He has been served in Special Education classrooms and has an IEP that just expired.His mother, legal guardian, has a significant history of drug abuse and has been missing for most of the summer. Antwan resided with various family members throughout the summer, and two weeks into the new school year finally ends up with a family member, Aunt, who seems willing to provide some stability. She resides in a bordering district (district of residence).
41Scenario Two: AntwanShe has attempted to enroll Antwan in the 9th grade at the local high school but has been denied due to lack of custody. Aunt does not know where Antwan’s legal guardian, Mother, is at this time and no other family members have had contact with her for weeks. Aunt is not sure if she is willing, or able, to take custody of Antwan at this time, but wants him to attend school.She has been told by the district in which she resides that she will have to file for custody of Antwan before they will enroll him in school and show them paperwork with a court date. They have also indicated that she will need to have an updated IEP before Antwan can actually begin attending school.
42Scenario Two AntwanIs Antwan “homeless” under McKinney- Vento? Why or Why not? Which school is Antwan eligible to attend? How does the McKinney-Vento Act pertain to this situation?What services is Antwan eligible for?What IDEA provisions apply to Antwan’s situation? Can the school require the Aunt to get legal guardianship?What might be the impediments to the Aunt being able to get guardianship? Are there any kinship services that might be available to the aunt?
43Scenario Two: AntwanWould you need to report the situation if Antwan tells you his mother was abusive, even though he is safe with his non-abusive aunt now?What would be your responsibility if Antwan’s mother contacted you and told you that she had not given permission for Antwan to live with his aunt?What would you do to support this young person? What strategies would you use and what resources would you tap? How would you work with your district to create the changes that are needed so situations like this can be responded to appropriately for all students who experience them?
44Situations/Dilemmas Work as a group: Identify the youth’s needs, Identify the challenges in meeting those needsIdentify resourcesIdentify the:ethical principlesethical issues or concernsethical practices
45Scenario 3: TinaAlice has a friend, Judy, who has been keeping her granddaughter, Tina, age 15, while her son is incarcerated. Alice’s friend has a medical issue requiring her hospitalization. Judy asks Alice to take the child in while she is hospitalized. Alice takes the child to the high school near her home to enroll her.The registrar tells Alice she will have to return when the Administrator is there to fill out the “homeless” paperwork. She gives Alice a guardianship form to get her friend’s son to sign. It also has to be notarized.Alice explains that her friend’s son is incarcerated some distance away. Alice cannot go get his signature. She cannot take off work to come in another day to sign paperwork.
46Scenario 3: TinaThe registrar tells her Alice she has no choice she will simply have to return in three days to meet with the administrator. Alice calls three days later only to find that the administrator is not expected in that day, and the receptionist doesn’t know for sure when he will be in. She tells Alice to call daily, and reasserts that only this administrator can do the paperwork with Alice. She also inquires as to whether Alice has gotten the guardianship paper signed by her son.Is Tina MV eligible?Is Tina Unaccompanied?What barriers can you identify in this situation?How should they be remedied?
47Situations/Dilemmas Work as a group: Identify the youth’s needs, Identify the challenges in meeting those needsIdentify resourcesIdentify the:ethical principlesethical issues or concernsethical practices
48Scenario Four: Miranda Miranda, who is 17 years old, arrives at Oak High School in early November seeking to enroll in school. She informs you, the school district homeless liaison, that she left home four months ago because she just couldn’t stay there anymore. She is reluctant to share any other information about why she no longer wants to live with her mother, who is her custodial parent. She informs you that her father died 5 years ago.
49Scenario 4 : MirandaMiranda has been sleeping on the couch of a friend who resides in your district and within the attendance zone of Oak High School. Before Miranda’s name reached your desk, the registrar called her mother who informed the school that Miranda could come home anytime she wants. However, the mother didn’t really seem to care if Miranda lived at home or not—she doesn’t really plan to do anything about the fact that Miranda left. Miranda is steadfast about not going home and about enrolling in Oak High.
50Scenario 4: MirandaShe only needs two more semesters of credit to graduate. Unfortunately, she has barely attended classes since the school year began two months ago. She says she intended to continue in her school of origin, but she was unaware of her McKinney-Vento rights and thought she had to use public transportation to get there. Somehow she just never had the money so was only present for 7 days this semester.
51Miranda Is Miranda “homeless” under McKinney- Vento? Why or Why not? How does the McKinney-Vento Act pertain to this situation? What services is Miranda eligible for?Is there any responsibility in district policy or state or federal law to report Miranda’s whereabouts?To whom are you supposed to report her and when?Does it make a difference if she tells you her mom hits her?What would be your responsibility if Miranda’s parents contacted you and told you that she had run away without permission?
52MirandaWhat if she was staying with a friend without the friend’s parental permission?What would you do to support this young person? What strategies would you use and what resources would tap?Would Miranda be eligible to play basketball at Oak High?How would you work with your district to create the changes that are needed so situations like this can be responded to appropriately for all students who experience them?
53Situations/Dilemmas Work as a group: Identify the youth’s needs, Identify the challenges in meeting those needsIdentify resourcesIdentify the:ethical principlesethical issues or concernsethical practices
54Tips for a coordinated approach to addressing the needs of unaccompanied youth Revise LEA policies to accommodate unaccompanied youth and comply with the McKinney-Vento Act.Train LEA homeless liaisons and all school enrollment staff, secretaries, guidance counselors, principals and teachers on the definition, rights and needs of unaccompanied youth.Develop caretaker forms, self-enrollment forms for unaccompanied youth, and other forms to replace typical proof of guardianship. Such forms should be carefully crafted so they do not create further barriers or delay enrollment.
55Tips for a coordinated approach to addressing the needs of unaccompanied youth Provide unaccompanied youth the opportunity to enroll in diversified learning opportunities, such as vocational education, credit-for-work programs and flexible school hours.Provide a “safe place” and trained mentor at school, for unaccompanied youth to access as needed.Permit flexible exceptions to school policies on class schedules, tardiness, absences and credits to accommodate the needs of unaccompanied youth.Build relationships with legal services for trainings, updates, advocacy for individual students in non-educational areas.Provide opportunities for extra curricular activities.
56Who can make decisions related to special education for an unaccompanied youth? IDEA requires LEAs to appoint surrogate parents for unaccompanied homeless youth within 30 days – expands the definition of parentIDEA regulations permit staff members of emergency shelters, transitional shelters, independent living programs and outreach programs to serve as temporary surrogate parents for unaccompanied homeless youthDistricts should have a surrogacy program to train potential surrogates. They cannot be employees of the school district
57Tips for finding legal services providers for children and youth
58What national groups can help? National Runaway SwitchboardNational Network for YouthRunaway and Homeless Youth Act Program, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesThe Texas Homeless Education Office