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McKinney-Vento Act Everything You Need to Know!

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1 McKinney-Vento Act Everything You Need to Know!
OSPI Education of Homeless Children and Youths School Staff and Liaison Training March 14, 15 and 16, 2012

2 Our Agenda Background and context Eligibility and identification
Making the law work for real children and youth: Ben Stephanie Tim Sofia

3 Causes of Homelessness
Lack of affordable housing Foreclosures Poverty Economic recession Unemployment Health problems Lack of health insurance Addiction disorders, Mental health Domestic violence Natural and other disasters Abuse/neglect/family dysfunction (unaccompanied youth)

4 How many children and youth experience homelessness?
10% of all children living in poverty over the course of a year. Public schools identified 939,903 homeless students; a 38% increase from to School districts with McKinney-Vento funds (fewer than one in five) identified 65,317 unaccompanied youth; a 51% increase over three years. 53% of all children in HUD-funded shelters are under the age of 6.

5 Barriers to Education for Homeless Children and Youth
Enrollment requirements (school records, health records, proof of residence and guardianship) High mobility resulting in lack of school stability and educational continuity Lack of awareness; under-identification Lack of transportation Lack of school supplies, clothing, etc. Poor health, fatigue, hunger Prejudice and misunderstanding

6 McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
Reauthorized 2002 by NCLB Main themes: Identification School stability School access Support for academic success Child-centered, best interest decision making

7 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. Resolve disputes and assist with transportation.

8 Eligibility—Who is Covered?
Children who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence— Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason [71% of identified homeless students in ] Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations [Motels: 5% of identified homeless students in ]

9 Eligibility— Who is Covered?
Children who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence— Living in emergency or transitional shelters [19% of identified homeless students in ] 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 Migratory children living in above circumstances Awaiting foster care placement

10 Determining Eligibility
Case-by-case determination Get as much information as possible (with sensitivity and discretion) Look at the MV definition (specific examples in the definition first, then overall definition) Shared housing considerations: Where would you go if you couldn’t stay here? What led you to move in to this situation? NCHE’s Determining Eligibility brief is available at

11 Identification Strategies
Provide awareness activities for school staff (registrars, secretaries, counselors, nurses, teachers, tutors, bus drivers, security officers, drop out prevention specialists, administrators, etc.). Coordinate with community service agencies, such as shelters, soup kitchens, public assistance and housing agencies, and public health departments.

12 Identification Strategies (cont.)
Post outreach materials and posters in all schools and where there is a frequent influx of low-income families and youth in high-risk situations, including motels, campgrounds, libraries, youth centers. Use enrollment and withdrawal forms to inquire about living situations. P14_SRQ.doc

13 Identification Strategies (cont.)
Make special efforts to identify preschool children, including asking about the siblings of school-aged children. Develop relationships with truancy officials and/or other attendance officers. Enlist youth to spread the word. Make sure data entry and database managers know how to enter, maintain and report information. Avoid using the word "homeless” with school personnel, families, or youth.

14 Scenario 1: Ben Ben has been at West Elementary for about three months when his mother tells the school secretary that she needs her child’s records. She’s moving in with her cousin across town and is going to transfer Ben to the school her cousin’s children attend. Ben’s teacher calls you and asks what can be done. Ben is just starting to work well in the class, and her teacher would be sorry to see him leave.

15 Ben Is Ben eligible for McKinney-Vento services?
Can Ben stay at West Elementary School?

16 Research on School Stability
Demonstration project in WA showed that school stability for homeless students increases assessment scores and grades. 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. Students who changed high schools even once during high school were less than half as likely as stable students to graduate, even controlling for other factors.

17 Research on School Stability (cont.)
Recent study published in the Archives of Psychiatry found that youth aged 11 to 17 were twice as likely to attempt suicide if their families moved three or more times compared to those who had never moved. Victoria, TX adopted a “One Child, One School, One Year” policy. ADA increased $1.6 million. TAKS scores increased significantly.

18 School Stability— Key Provisions
Students can stay in their school of origin for the duration of homeless and until the end of the school year when they find permanent housing, as long as that is in 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. Can always also choose the local school (any school others living in the same area are eligible to attend).

19 Feasibility— USED Criteria
A child-centered, individualized determination Continuity of instruction Age of the child or youth Safety of the child or youth Likely length of stay in temporary housing 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 Transportation—Key Provisions
LEAs must provide transportation to and from their school of origin, at a parent’s or guardian’s request (or at the liaison’s request for unaccompanied youth). If crossing LEA lines, they must determine how to divide the responsibility and share the cost, or they must share the cost equally.

21 Transportation—Key Provisions
2. LEAs also must provide students in homeless situations with transportation services comparable to those provided to other students. 3. LEAs must eliminate barriers to the school enrollment and retention of students experiencing homelessness (including transportation barriers).

22 Transportation Strategies
Develop close ties among local liaisons, school staff, pupil transportation staff, and shelter workers. Use school buses (including special education, magnet school and other buses). Develop formal or informal agreements with school districts where homeless children cross district lines. Use public transit where feasible. Use approved carpools, van or taxi services. Reimburse parents and youth for gas.

23 School Stability Resources
School of origin vs. Local school: _sel_checklist.pdf Transportation: RP33b_Transportation_Rural.pdf

24 Scenario 2: Stephanie Age 15, wants to enroll in high school.
Ran away from home--could not get along with her stepfather– staying with family in your district. Won’t provide parents’ information. The high school principal is concerned about enrolling Stephanie without a guardian to sign the enrollment paperwork and without her previous school records.

25 Stephanie Is Stephanie eligible for McKinney-Vento services?
Can Stephanie enroll in the new high school? How can the school enroll her without a parent/guardian and without school records? Does the new school need to find Stephanie’s mother or report Stephanie to some authority?

26 Unaccompanied Youth-- Who Are They?
Definition: child or youth who meets the definition of homeless and is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. Some youth become homeless with their families, but end up on their own due to lack of space in temporary accommodations or shelter policies that prohibit adolescent boys. 60% of homeless mothers live apart from at least one of their minor children; 35% live apart from all their children. 93% of homeless fathers live apart from all their children.

27 Who Are They? (cont.) Studies have found that 20 to 50 percent of unaccompanied youth were sexually abused in their homes, while 40 to 60 percent were physically abused. Over two-thirds of callers to Runaway Hotline report that at least one of their parents abuses drugs or alcohol. 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 Who Are They? (cont.) 20-40% of homeless youth identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (compared to 3-5% of the overall population). At the end of 2005, over 11,000 children fled a foster care placement and were never found; 25-40% of youth who emancipate from foster care will end up homeless. Many youth have been thrown out of their homes due to pregnancy. 48% of street youth have been pregnant or impregnated someone. 10% of currently homeless female teens are pregnant.

29 Unaccompanied 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 personnel must be made aware of the specific needs of runaway and homeless youth.

30 School Enrollment— Key Provisions
If remaining in the school of origin is not feasible, children and youth in homeless situations are entitled to immediate enrollment in any public school that students living in the same attendance area are eligible to attend. The terms “enroll” and “enrollment” include attending classes and participating fully in school activities.

31 Enrollment— Key Provisions (cont.)
Enrollment must be immediate, even if students do not have required documents, such as school records, health records, proof of residency or guardianship, or other documents. If a student does not have immunizations, or immunization or medical records, the liaison must immediately assist in obtaining them, and the student must be enrolled in the interim.

32 Enrollment— Key Provisions (cont.)
Enrolling schools must obtain school records from the previous school, and students must be enrolled in school while records are obtained. Schools must maintain records for students who are homeless so they are available quickly. SEAs and LEAs must develop, review, and revise policies to remove barriers to the enrollment and retention of children and youth in homeless situations.

33 Immediate Enrollment— Strategies
Request all records from the previous school immediately, including immunization records. Parental signature is not required for transfer students (FERPA). The vast majority of students have been enrolled in school before and have received immunizations. Speak with parents and youth about the classes the student was in, previous coursework and special needs. Call the counselor, teachers or principal at the previous school for information. Ensure enrollment staff on every campus are aware of the law and procedures.

34 Parental disapproval / school liability
Liability: based on the concept of negligence, or a failure to exercise reasonable care. Following federal law and providing appropriate services are evidence of reasonable care. Violating federal law and denying services are evidence of negligence. Be reasonable based on the circumstances Talk with the youth

35 Contacting police and DSHS
MV requires eliminating barriers to enrollment and retention in school. Arrest, custody and foster care are threats and barriers to unaccompanied youth. Schools must enroll youth immediately. School is the safest and best place for youth. Educators are only mandated to report suspected abuse and/or neglect (homelessness alone is not abuse/neglect) to child welfare. Build relationships with law enforcement, juvenile justice and local DSHS.

36 Unaccompanied Youth—Strategies
Develop clear policies for enrolling unaccompanied youth immediately, whether youth enroll themselves, liaisons do enrollment, caretakers enroll youth in their care, or another procedure is in place. Train local liaisons and all school enrollment staff, secretaries, counselors, principals, school security staff, attendance officers, and teachers on the definition, rights, and needs of unaccompanied youth. Coordinate with youth-serving agencies, such as shelters, soup kitchens, drop-in centers, street outreach, child welfare, juvenile courts, law enforcement, legal aid, teen parent programs, public assistance, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender youth organizations, mental health agencies…

37 Unaccompanied Youth—Strategies (cont.)
Offer youth an adult and peer mentor. Establish systems to monitor youth’s attendance and performance, and let youth know you’ll be checking up on them. Help youth participate fully in school (clubs, sports, homework help, etc.) Build trust! Be patient, and ensure discretion and confidentiality when working with youth.

38 School Enrollment Resources
Immediate enrollment without documents: essment.pdf Immediate enrollment without parent/guardian: rdianship.pdf Immediate enrollment without immunizations:

39 School Enrollment Resources (cont.)
Full participation in school activities: a_curr.pdf Ensuring credit accrual and recovery: dit.pdf

40 Resolution of Disputes— Key Provisions
Follow OSPI dispute resolution procedures. When a dispute over enrollment arises, the student must be admitted immediately to the school of choice while the dispute is being resolved. The parent or guardian must be provided with a written explanation of the school’s decision, including the right to appeal. The school must refer the child, youth, parent, or guardian to the liaison to carry out the dispute resolution process as expeditiously as possible.

41 Scenario 3: Tim Living in a motel with his children, 4-year old Rochelle, and 2-year old Matthew. Recently took custody of children, feels overwhelmed. Rochelle is overly friendly; Matthew can’t walk yet.

42 Tim What early childhood programs might be available for Rochelle?
What early childhood programs might be available for Matthew? How can we help Tim?

43 Impacts of Homelessness on Young Children
Higher rates of developmental delays: Infants who are homeless start life needing special care four times more often than other babies. Homeless toddlers show significantly slower development than other children Higher rates of chronic and acute health problems. Higher exposure to domestic and other types of violence.

44 McKinney-Vento Preschool Provisions
Liaisons must ensure that families and children have access to Head Start, Even Start, and other public preschool programs administered by the LEA. State McKinney-Vento plans must describe procedures that ensure that homeless children have access to public preschool programs.

45 Head Start Head Start is a federally-funded comprehensive service delivery program for low-income/at-risk families and children with disabilities Head Start provides services to children and families in the following areas: Health and Nutrition (including Mental Health and Dental Services) Education Family Support Disabilities

46 Head Start Findings Compared to non-homeless children served by Head Start (1999 HS demonstration programs), homeless children have: Greater developmental delays (language) More learning disabilities More health and mental health problems Higher frequency of withdrawal, shyness, separation anxiety, short attention disorder, flat affect, aggression, hoarding, anxiety in response to changes in environment or staff absences, concern over getting enough food, and sharing toys

47 Head Start Provisions Homeless children are categorically eligible for Head Start programs. Head Start programs are required to identify and prioritize homeless children for enrollment; allow homeless children to enroll while required paperwork is obtained; and coordinate with LEA liaisons. OHS Information:

48 Locating a Head Start Program in WA
To locate a Head Start program in your area, visit the following website:

49 ECEAP Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program
A free program for 3- and 4-year olds from families that have low incomes or environmental risks. Fosters the development of the whole child and enhances opportunities for success in school and life. Supports each parent as their child’s first and most important teacher and provider of safety, loving care, and stability. Honors each family’s culture and language.

50 Serving Homeless Children in ECEAP
5% of ECEAP children are homeless at the time of enrollment (2008 data) Children experiencing homelessness are prioritized for enrollment in ECEAP, along with children in foster care, families with the lowest incomes, or families with multiple needs.

51 Homeless Child Care Short-term, free child care for some homeless families that are not eligible for another child care subsidy program.

52 ESIT Early Support for Infants and Toddlers
IDEA Part C. Serves children from birth to 3 years old and their families. Eligibility: Child demonstrates a 25% delay in at least one domain (fine or gross motor, cognitive, communication, social/emotional, and/or adaptive; or Has a physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay.

53 ESIT Early Support for Infants and Toddlers
Basic Referral Procedures When there is a concern about a child’s development, refer the family to a local Lead Family Resources Coordinator (FRC). To find a local Lead FRC, contact the Family Health Hotline at or the ITEIP website at

54 ESIT Early Support for Infants and Toddlers
The Lead FRC has 45 days from the date of referral, with parent permission, to – coordinate assessments; facilitate the eligibility determination process; and, when the child is eligible, convenes an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meeting.

55 ESIT Early Support for Infants and Toddlers
Services in Natural Environments– focus on: Family priorities that result from challenging daily routines and activities. Supporting parents in meeting their child’s needs. Child participation in community and family life. Building on and strengthening a child’s motivation to learn and do within naturally occurring routines and learning opportunities.

56 ESIT Early Support for Infants and Toddlers
Family training, counseling, and home visits Service coordination Some health and medical services Social work services Transportation Assistive technology/services Nutrition Services Occupational therapy Physical therapy Psychological services Special instruction Speech language pathology Vision services Audiology

57 Strategies for Accessing Early Childhood Services
Identify the existing early childhood programs within your district: classrooms for birth to 5 year olds; preschool special education programs; other federally funded projects and community/district collaborations. Connect with key public early childhood and elementary school staff to build relationships, share data, and create awareness of the impact of homelessness on young children to work toward future partnerships. Advocate for slots for homeless children within those existing preschool programs.

58 Strategies for Accessing Early Childhood Services (cont.)
Include homelessness in the list of criteria for priority enrollment, classify homelessness as an “at risk” factor, and/or include homelessness specifically as a criterion for "most in need.” Designate a “homeless contact” at each Head Start and ECEAP program in your community; make sure each contact is trained and hold regular meetings. Designate a “young child” contact at each homeless service program; ensure that this contact is knowledgeable about Head Start, ECEAP, child development, etc. Explore funding support from Title I, Part A, ARRA, and grants sources such as United Way.

59 Young Children Resources

60 Scenario 4: Sofia Sofia is 17 years old and on her own, supporting herself through various part-time jobs and rotating among different friends’ homes. She has attended your school for three years, and she’s now a senior. As Sofia looks toward college, she would like to find more stability. She’s asked you for help with several issues, including getting on SNAP (food stamps), getting college application fees waived, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and finding a permanent place to stay. She’s also concerned about her readiness for the academic demands of college, particularly in math and science.

61 Sofia How can you help Sofia with basic needs like food and shelter?
How can you help Sofia with college readiness, college applications and financial aid?

62 Helping with food Homeless students are automatically eligible for free school meals. USDA policy permits liaisons and shelter directors to obtain free school meals for students immediately by providing a list of names of students experiencing homelessness with effective dates.

63 Can Sofia apply for WA’s Basic Food Program on her own?
Yes. There is no age minimum for food benefits; No parent signature is required; and food benefits cannot be denied due to lack of address or photo ID. Eligibility is based on the “household”. If Sofia purchases her own food and prepares her own meals, she is her own household. _program.shtml

64 Can Sofia apply for Basic Food Benefits as part of one of the families where she’s staying?
If Sofia and the family purchase and prepare food together, Sofia can be added to their household application. It’s important for Sofia and the family(s) to talk about food stamps and how Sofia’s application could affect the household.

65 What information would help Sofia decide how to apply for Basic Food Benefits?
Does she purchase and prepare food alone or as part of a family? How often does she stay with the family? Is the family already receiving Basic Food Benefits? Considering her income and the size of the family, how would Sofia’s participation affect their benefit? Does she move enough that she should apply on her own?

66 What are some housing ideas for Sofia?
Stabilize one of her host families Stabilize her employment Offer her school credit for work Can school get her a bus pass to help with transportation? Get her on Basic Food Benefits Housing programs for foster youth Was she ever in care? Does she have an open case with DSHS? Can DSHS or other programs for current/former foster youth be convinced to provide services?

67 What are some housing ideas for Sofia? (cont.)
Transitional housing programs for youth Rent an apartment College dorms Request a dorm that stays open year-round Apply to be resident advisor / dorm monitor College work-study Housing + High School = Success Bethel, Shelton

68 College Readiness for Sofia: Title I and Homelessness
A child or youth who is homeless is automatically eligible for Title IA services, regardless of whether his or her school is a Title IA school. LEAs must reserve (or set aside) the funds necessary to serve homeless children who do not attend Title IA schools, including educationally related support services. Funds may be used for children attending any school in the LEA.

69 Strategies for Determining the Title IA Set-Aside Amount
Review needs and costs involved in serving homeless students in the current year and project for the following year. Multiply the number of homeless students by the Title IA per pupil allocation. For districts with subgrants, reserve an amount greater than or equal to the McKinney-Vento subgrant funding request. Reserve a percentage based on the district’s poverty level or total Title IA allocation.

70 USED Guidance on Using Title IA Funds for Homeless Students
Title I funds may be used for services not ordinarily provided to other Title I students. Services must be reasonable and necessary to enable homeless students to take advantage of educational opportunities. Funds must be used as a last resort when services are not reasonably available from another public or private source. An individual paid in whole or in part with Title IA funds may also serve as a homeless liaison.

71 USED Guidance (cont.) Examples of Uses of Title IA funds:
Items of clothing, particularly if necessary to meet a school’s dress or uniform requirement Clothing and shoes necessary to participate in physical education classes Student fees that are necessary to participate in the general education program Personal school supplies such as backpacks and notebooks Birth certificates necessary to enroll in school Immunizations Food

72 USED Guidance (cont.) Uses of Title IA funds (cont.):
Medical and dental services Eyeglasses and hearing aids Counseling services Outreach services Extended learning time Tutoring services Parental involvement Fees for AP and IB testing Fees for SAT/ACT testing GED testing for school-age students

73 Title I Part A Resources
riefs/titlei.pdf y/guidance/titlei-reform.pdf

74 Can Sofia’s college application fees be waived?
Yes, at the discretion of each individual college. If she gets her SAT fee waived, she can receive up to 4 “Request for Waiver of College Admission Fee” forms. Do not guarantee waiver, but may facilitate

75 How can the Liaison help facilitate college application fee waivers?
Provide Sofia a letter on district letterhead explaining the McKinney-Vento Act, Sofia’s eligibility, and her situation. This information can be shared without parental consent, under the financial aid exception to FERPA. Establish relationships with Admissions Officers and Financial Aid Administrators (FAAs) at local colleges and universities.

76 Unaccompanied Youth and Higher Education: The FAFSA
Youth who meet the definition of “independent student” can complete the FAFSA without parental income information or signature. Unaccompanied youth are automatically considered independent students. Must be verified as unaccompanied and homeless during the school year in which the application is submitted. Youth who are unaccompanied, at risk of homelessness, and self-supporting are also automatically considered independent students. Must be verified as such during the school year in which the application is submitted.

77 FAFSA (cont.) Verification must be made by:
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, or a financial aid administrator. Youth who have been in foster care at any time after age 13 are also automatically independent. More information and sample letters are available at:

78 General Resources National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth National Center on Homeless Education National Network for Youth DVDs for awareness-raising “The McKinney-Vento Act in Our Schools”:

79 Unaccompanied Youth Resources

80 Contact Information Barbara Duffield, Policy Director NAEHCY Phone: Patricia Julianelle, Legal Director Phone:

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