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Supporting the Needs of Homeless Children and Youth

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Presentation on theme: "Supporting the Needs of Homeless Children and Youth"— Presentation transcript:

1 Supporting the Needs of Homeless Children and Youth
OSPI Counseling Conference June 27, 2013

2 The face of homelessness in Washington…

3 How many children and youth experience homelessness?
1.35 million children (nationally) 10% of all children living in poverty 733, million youths Over 40% of all children who are homeless are under the age of 5 In Washington 27,390 in (K-12) NCHE • • NAEHCY •

4 Causes of Homelessness
Lack of affordable housing Deep poverty Health problems Domestic violence Natural and other disasters Abuse/neglect (unaccompanied youth) NCHE • • NAEHCY •

5 Research on School Mobility
Students who switch schools frequently score lower on standardized tests; study found mobile students scored 20 points lower than non-mobile students Mobility also hurts non-mobile students; study found average test scores for non-mobile students were significantly lower in high schools with high student mobility rates It takes children an average of 4-6 months to recover academically after changing schools NCHE • • NAEHCY •

6 Research on School Mobility (cont.)
Students suffer psychologically, socially, and academically from mobility; mobile students are less likely to participate in extracurricular activities and more likely to act out or get into trouble Mobility during high school greatly diminishes the likelihood of graduation; study found students who changed high schools even once were less than half as likely as stable students to graduate, even controlling for other factors NCHE • • NAEHCY •

7 Research on School Mobility, cont.
39% of sheltered homeless children missed more than one week of school per quarter and changed school from two to five times in 12 months

8 Barriers to Education for Homeless Children and Youth
Enrollment requirements (school records, immunizations, proof of residence and guardianship) High mobility resulting in lack of school stability and educational continuity Lack of access to programs Lack of transportation Lack of school supplies, clothing, etc. Poor health, fatigue, hunger Prejudice and misunderstanding NCHE • • NAEHCY •

9 Who is homeless? The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youths as… Individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and includes: Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;

10 Who is homeless, cont. are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;

11 Who is homeless, cont. Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

12 Who is homeless, cont. Migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described (above.)

13 Who uses the McKinney-Vento Definition of “homeless”?
Elementary and Secondary Education (ED) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (ED) Higher Education Act (ED) Head Start Act (HHS) Child Nutrition Act (USDA) Violence Against Women Act (DOJ)

14 Washington State Data Trends
: 8,141 : 12,274 : 13,942 : 16,853 : 18,670 : 20,780 : 21,826 : 26,049 : 27,390

15 Nighttime Residence

16 McKinney-Vento Grants
Currently, Washington receives $951,225 (approximately $714,000 distributed to districts in the form of grants) Provides competitive grants to 23 sites Of 295 districts, 248 reported homeless students enrolled in

17 The McKinney-Vento Act
The federal McKinney-Vento Act ensures that children and youth experiencing homelessness are able to enroll, attend and succeed in school. Homeless students must be able to attend and participate fully in all school activities, including after-school athletics, co-curricular activities and other school-sponsored events.

18 Key Provisions—School Selection
Children and youth experiencing homelessness can stay in their school of origin or enroll in any public school that students living in the same attendance area are eligible to attend, according to their best interest School of origin—school attended when permanently housed or in which last enrolled Best interest—keep homeless students in their schools of origin, to the extent feasible, unless this is against the parents’ or guardians’ wishes

19 Determining Best Interest
Continuity of instruction Age of the child or youth Safety of the child or youth Length of stay at the shelter Likely area where family will find permanent housing Student’s need for special instructional programs Impact of commute on education School placement of siblings Time remaining in the school year

20 School Districts are Required to…
Identify homeless students Immediately enroll homeless students, even if they lack records Maintain enrollment in the school of origin, whenever feasible and in the best interest of the child Transfer records immediately when a student moves Provide transportation to/from school of origin Resolve disputes related to enrollment and provision of service

21 District requirements, cont.
Provide comparable services Coordinate and collaborate with other agencies/entities providing services to homeless children, youth and their families Coordinate with state and local housing agencies Provide training to district staff Provide special services, including Special Education, early childhood, preschool, etc. Set aside Title I funds to serve homeless students in schools

22 Local Homeless Education Liaisons
Every LEA must designate a liaison for students in homeless situations Responsibilities Ensure that children and youth in homeless situations are identified Ensure that homeless students enroll in and have full and equal opportunity to succeed in school Link with educational services, including preschool and health services NCHE • • NAEHCY •

23 Local Homeless Education Liaisons (cont.)
Inform parents, guardians, or youth of educational and parent involvement opportunities Post public notice of educational rights Resolve disputes Inform parents, guardians, or youth of transportation services, including to the school of origin NCHE • • NAEHCY •

24 Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

25 Who are Unaccompanied Homeless Youth?
Not in the physical custody of parents 2) Homeless Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence 3) Youth Under 21 years of age

26 Unaccompanied Youth: Homeless on Their Own
Youth may become homeless with their families, but end up on their own due to lack of space in temp. accommodations or shelter policies that prohibit adolescent boys Youth may have fled abuse and/or dysfunction in the home. Studies have found that 20-40% were sexually abused in their homes; 40-60% were physically abused Over two-thirds of callers to Runaway Hotline report at least one of their parents abuses drugs or alcohol 21 – 53% of homeless youth have a history of out- of-home care through the child welfare system

27 Unaccompanied Youth: Homeless on Their Own
Youth may have been thrown out of their homes due to sexual orientation: 20-40% of unaccompanied youth identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (compared to 3-5% of adults) Youth may have been thrown out of their homes due to pregnancy (10% of currently homeless female teenagers are pregnant) As the economy worsens, some families are forced to send older teenagers out to support themselves Over half of youth living in shelters report that their parents either told them to leave, or knew they were leaving and did not care

28 Higher Education and FAFSA

29 What About Higher Education
What About Higher Education? Can Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Apply for Federal Financial Aid? Yes, with assistance from advocates Due to severe poverty, they are extremely unlikely to be able to access postsecondary education without federal student aid

30 FAFSA Barriers Youth cannot supply the information required by the FAFSA (such as documentation) Youth may not know how to fill out the form and can become overwhelmed by the amount of information requested The FAFSA requires most students to provide financial information and signatures from parents/guardians

31 The Power of Partnership
It is critical for homeless education liaisons, counselors and service providers to work with UHY to complete the FAFSA and serve as intermediaries with financial aid administrators

32 Financial Aid and FAFSA Basics
Families are expected to contribute to higher education costs to the extent to which they are able “expected family contribution” or EFC FAFSA = Free Application for Federal Student Aid Cannot be filed before January 1st preceding the academic year in which the student wishes to enroll For dependent students, filling out the FAFSA requires income and asset information for both the student and a parent, and a parent signature; the student’s aid package is decided factoring in parental income and support For independent students, no parental signature or income and asset information is needed; the student’s aid package is decided solely based on the student’s finances

33 College Cost Reduction and Access Act
In September of 2007, President Bush signed into law the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 Included within this legislation are amendments to expand the definition of independent student in FAFSA to include: (1) unaccompanied homeless youth; (2) youth who are in foster care at any time after the age of 13 or older, and; (3) youth who are emancipated minors or are in legal guardianships as determined by an appropriate court in the individual's state of residence.

34 College Cost Reduction Act (cont.)
The law helps to remove barriers to accessing financial aid for unaccompanied youth in the year in which they experienced homelessness And in subsequent years, provided they are still unaccompanied, self-supporting, and at risk of homelessness

35 College Cost Reduction Act - Verification
Verification is not required If choose to verify, authorized entities are: a McKinney-Vento Act school district liaison a HUD homeless assistance program director or their designee a Runaway and Homeless Youth Act program director or their designee A Financial Aid Administrator (FAA) Sample verification template at

36 What Can You Do To Assist Unaccompanied Homeless Youth?
Inform unaccompanied homeless youth that they can go to college, even without parental financial support Provide assistance with FAFSA completion Connect with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Liaison in your district for verification and connection to other needed services & resources If you are a Liaison, VERIFY! Fill out a verification template for every unaccompanied homeless youth senior and make three copies 1) student 2) liaison and 3) counselor

37 What Can You Do To Assist Unaccompanied Homeless Youth? (cont.)
Contact the financial aid administrator at the college of the student’s choice for more information about how that institution handles determinations of independence and dependency overrides Know the AVG (Application and Verification Guide) Provide letters attesting to the youth’s unaccompanied and homeless status. Help students address barriers to higher education or connect them with school resources that can assist.

38 What Can You Do To Assist Unaccompanied Homeless Youth? (cont.)
Share information with other homeless liaisons, social workers, and community service providers, so that they are informed and able to assist (FERPA compliance) Locate and develop a relationship with a state or local college access organization in your community. College access organizations provide counseling, advice, and financial assistance Connect with local Gear Up, Trios and other resources

39 Higher Education Resources – NAEHCY & NCHE
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) Higher Education webpage, hotline, toolkits, legislation, summary documents, templates: National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) NCHE higher education information by topic, scholarships, recommended practices, sample forms and posters:

40 NAEHCY Higher Education Helpline 1 (855) 446-2673 (toll-free)
For assistance with issues related to students experiencing homelessness accessing higher education for Financial Aid Administrators, McKinney Liaisons, High School Counselors, Shelter Staff and Service Providers, Unaccompanied Homeless Youth and Parents of students experiencing homelessness. NAEHCY and NASFAA are working with state-level representatives to develop statewide higher education and homelessness networks in 6-9 states.

41 Resources Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction: National Center for Homeless Education: National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty:

42 For more information… Melinda Dyer, Program Supervisor Education of Homeless Children and Youth Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction


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