Serving Unaccompanied Youth Removing Educational Barriers and - PowerPoint

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					   Louisiana Association of Student Financial Aid
          Administrators Fall Conference

   Helping Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Access
College Financial Aid: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
                    and the FASFA
                   New Orleans, LA
                    October 22, 2009
        Why are Youth Homeless and
              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 alcohol
Other 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
Some children and youth are abandoned by their
 parents, or are on their own due to death of parents
Some children and youth are in unstable living
 situations due to parental incarceration, illness, or
        Why are Youth Homeless and
         on Their Own? (Continued)
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
Some youth become homeless with their families,
 but, due to lack of space in doubled-up or motel
 situations, end up homeless on their own
Natural disasters cause youth to be separated from
 family during their homelessness
Aging 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
How many youth experience homelessness
            on their own?
 1.6-1.7 million youth each year
 Public schools identified and enrolled 794,617
  children/youth in 2007-2008 (includes children in
  intact families); this is an 17% increase over the
  previous year
 Homelessness is increasing this year due to
  economic downturn, housing crisis, etc
  Homelessness and Foster Care
    What’s the Connection?
 22% of homeless children are put into foster care
  and stay in care longer.
 30% of children in foster care could return home if
  their parents had access to housing.
 Approximately 27% of homeless adults and 41% of
  homeless youth report a history of foster care.
 25% of youth “aging out” of foster care experience
 Lack of placements for older youth
 Youth run away from placements or avoid the

        Where Do Homeless Youth Live?
            Defining Homelessness
 The College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) and
  the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) include a
  definition of homelessness that matches the definition of
  homelessness in the education subtitle of the McKinney-
  Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which governs public

 Identical definition is in the Child Nutrition Act, the Individuals
  with Disabilities Education Act, the Head Start Act, and the
  Violence Against Women Act
               McKinney-Vento (and CCRAA and HEOA)
                     Definition of Homelessness

 Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate
  nighttime residence—
     Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing,
     economic hardship, or similar reason
     [65% of students identified by public schools in 2007-2008]
     Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping
     grounds due to lack of adequate alternative
     [Motels: 7% of students identified by public schools in 2007-2008]
     Living in emergency or transitional shelters
     [22% of students identified by public schools in 2007-2008]
                 McKinney-Vento (and CCRAA and HEOA)
                   Definition of Homelessness, Continued

   Awaiting foster care placement (state and local interpretations vary)
   Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live
   Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, etc.
   Migratory children living in above circumstances

Unaccompanied Youth: A youth not in the physical custody of a
  parent or guardian who also meets the definition of homeless

McKinney-Vento cite: 42 U.S.C. 11434a(2)
                       Homeless Definition:
                         Why So Broad?

- Shelters are often full; shelters may turn youth away, or
  put youth on waiting lists
- Shelters do not exist in many suburban and rural areas
- Eligibility conditions of shelters often exclude families
  with boys over the age of 12, or unaccompanied minors
- Motels may not be available, or may be too expensive
- Youth may fear adult shelters
- Shelters often have 30, 60, or 90 day time limits
- Families/youth may be unaware of alternatives, fleeing in
  crisis, living in over-crowded, temporary, and sometimes
  unsafe environments
            Impact of Homelessness

 Higher rates of acute and chronic illness, depression and
  anxiety; experiences of trauma and loss
 For unaccompanied youth, lack of support from any
  caring adult
 Unaccompanied youth are frequently victimized. As
  many as half have been assaulted or robbed; one in ten
  runaways reports being raped
 According to the National Runaway Switchboard, 5,000
  unaccompanied youth die each year from assault,
  illness, or suicide
 Perform lower on academic assessments
 75% of unaccompanied homeless youth do not graduate
                  Barriers to Education

 High mobility: 41% will attend at least two different schools; 28% will
  attend three or more
 Unaccompanied youth: lack of a parent or guardian to sign forms
 Lack of school records and other paperwork
 Lack of stable housing
 Emotional crisis / mental health issues
 Employment - need to balance school and work
 Lack of transportation
 Lack of school supplies, clothing
 Fatigue, poor health, hunger
 Credit accrual policies, attendance policies
 Concerns about being captured by authorities
 Low expectations by family, school
          Educational Rights Under
          The McKinney-Vento Act

 Broad mandate for all school districts to remove
  barriers to school enrollment and retention by
  revising policies and practices
 Remain in the school of origin (if in best interest)
 Transportation to the school of origin
 Immediate enrollment
 Access to programs and services
 Access to dispute resolution procedures
           McKinney-Vento Personnel

 Every State Education Agency has an Office of State
  Coordinator for the Education of Homeless Children
  and Youth

   Collaboration responsibilities across agencies and with
   Technical assistance to LEAs
   Professional development
   Data collection and reporting
           McKinney-Vento Personnel

 Every Local Education Agency (school district) must
  designate a liaison for students in homeless situations
 Responsibilities
     Ensure that children and youth in homeless
     situations are identified through school and
     Ensure that homeless students enroll in and have
     full and equal opportunity to succeed in school
     Make referrals for health, mental health, and
     other services, and ensure that homeless children
     receive Head Start and preschool programs
     administered by school districts
              Local Homeless
          Education Liaisons (cont.)
 Inform parents, guardians, or youth of
  educational and parent involvement
 Post public notice of educational rights
 Resolve disputes
 Inform parents, guardians, or youth of
  transportation services, including to the school of
 Collaborate and coordinate with community and
  school personnel
                Federal Financial Aid

 Youth who meet the definition of “independent student”
  can apply for federal aid without parental income
  information or signature.
 Unaccompanied homeless youth are automatically
  considered independent students.
   Must be verified as unaccompanied and homeless during
     the school year when 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.
          Federal Financial Aid (cont.)

 Verification must be made by:
   a McKinney-Vento Act school district liaison
   a HUD homeless assistance program director or their
   a Runaway and Homeless Youth Act program director or
     their designee
   a financial aid administrator.
 Youth in foster care and those who aged out of foster
  care are also automatically considered independent
 Youth who have been in foster care at any time after age
  13 are automatically be considered independent students
 Sample verification template at

 To find local liaisons: contact the Office of State Coordinator
for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.
   Verification, Continued
HUD-funded Shelters: The U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) administers funding for
homeless shelters and services under Title
IV of the McKinney-Vento Act. These funds
are distributed to communities through a
competitive grant process. For more
information, see:
    Verification, Continued

RHYA-funded Shelters: The U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services administers the
Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs.
These programs provide funding for Basic
Centers, Transitional Living Programs, and Street
Outreach Programs that serve runaway and other
unaccompanied homeless youth. For more
information, see:
       Application and Verification Guide

 Located on ED website at
 If a student does not have, and cannot get,
  verification from a liaison, RHYA provider, or
  HUD provider, a financial aid administrator must
  make a determination of
  homeless/unaccompanied status
 This is not an exercise of professional judgment
  or a dependency override, but should be
  processed as such for this year; a separate
  question will be added next year
     Application and Verification Guide - 2

 Determinations should be made on a case-by-
  case basis (see NCHE’s Determining Eligibility
 A student living in a dormitory who would
  otherwise be homeless should be considered
 A student fleeing abuse and living in homeless
  living situations may be considered homeless
  even if the parent would provide a place to live
    Application and Verification Guide - 3

 No prescribed documentation for FAA
  evaluation of living arrangements, but it must
  demonstrate that student meets the definition
 Determination may be made on the basis of a
  documented interview with the student if no
  written documentation is available
 FAAs may rely upon a determination from
  another school that a student met definition
 Students older than 21 but younger than 24 who
  would otherwise meet the definition qualify for a
  dependency override
Develop relationships with local school district
liaisons and homeless service providers in your

Use a standard verification form to streamline the
process for students and schools

If you have questions about the eligibility of a
student who was not verified by a liaison or shelter
provider, contact the state coordinator
                 Supporting Documents

 FAFSA Tips for Unaccompanied Youth
 FAFSA Tips for Foster Youth
 Helping Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
  Access College Financial Aid
 Income Tax and the FAFSA for
  Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
 Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Verification
  For the Purposes of Federal Financial Aid

    LeTendre Education Fund Scholarship

Administered by the National Association for the Education of
Homeless Children and Youth

Small scholarships for students who experienced homelessness
in their school career
Students who have not reached their 21st birthday by September
1, 2008, and who have completed less than one year of college are
eligible to apply.
Applicants may be high school juniors or seniors, students
enrolled in a GED or other alternative education program, or
recent graduates/GED recipients.
             Resources for Professionals

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

National Center on Homeless Education

National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

National Network for Youth
     Contact Information
                  Laverne Dunn
    State Coordinator - Homeless Education
Division of Dropout Prevention, Adult and Family
    Office of School and Community Support
       Louisiana Department of Education
             225-342-3031, Secretary
            Toll Free: 1-877-453-2721
           Fax Number: (225) 342-5589
    Further Contact Information
Barbara Duffield               Marcia Weston
Policy Director                Director of Operations
National Association for the   College Goal Sunday
   Education of Homeless       YMCA of the USA
   Children and Youth
4701 Connecticut Avenue,       501 West Market Street
   NW, #402                    Greensboro, NC 27401
Washington, DC 20008           (312) 502-7185 (cell)
(202) 364-7392 (phone)         (336) 272-4140 (fax)
(202) 318-7523 (fax)