Serving Unaccompanied Youth- Removing Educational Barriers by sammyc2007


									     Serving Unaccompanied Youth: Removing
        Educational Barriers and Expanding

                WebEx Training
      Tennessee Department of Education
     National Center for Homeless Education
                January 17, 2008

Christie Lentz/Karen Munn, Homeless Education, Office of Federal
                         Programs, TDOE
      Lesley Farmer, Director, Office of Civil Rights, TDOE
                 Diana Bowman, Director, NCHE

  Overview of the Training

The training will cover the following topics:
 Overview of the McKinney-Vento Act as it
 pertains to unaccompanied youth
 Enrollment issues
 Decision making and signature authority
 Educational support
 Strategies for a coordinated approach
  McKinney-Vento: Key Provisions

Definition of unaccompanied youth:

 youth in homeless situations– no fixed,
 regular, and adequate nighttime residence

 not in the physical custody of a parent or

    Unaccompanied Youth Data for
School Year 06-07—156—Number of Unaccompanied
  Youth served by LEAs with subgrants
  No data on UY collected from LEAs without subgrants

School Year 05-06—319*—Number of Unaccompanied
  Youth served by LEAs with subgrants*
  No data on UY collected from LEAs without subgrants

*Includes Katrina/Rita displaced students
                                    Source—CSPR (collected online at CREP)

   Is there an age limit on serving secondary students?

  MV applies to all school-aged children and youth (as
  defined by state law).
Definition of Emancipation of minor - TCA § 39-11-106 –
  any minor who is or has been married, or has by court
  order or otherwise been freed from the care, custody and
  control of the minor’s parents.
Age of emancipation – 18 years old, See TCA § 34-2-106.
IDEA requires that students receiving special education services be served
  up to age 22.

  Effects of Emancipation on School

TN Atty. Gen. Opinion – OAG 96-064 -
Complete emancipation relieves a minor of
 compulsory school attendance
According to the Tennessee Attorney General,
  While the compulsory education statutes do not address the
  impact of emancipation, we conclude that the answer is
  provided by Chapter 31 of Title 29, ―Removal of
  Disabilities of Minors.‖

Examples of Possible UY Scenarios
Youth that was asked to leave home by a parent
Youth that left home with the consent of a parent
Youth that has been forced to leave home by
parent(s), may have run away
Youth that has chosen to leave home to live with a
boyfriend (girlfriend)
Immigrant youth—parents deported or parents
send children here to live
Youth whose parent(s) are in jail, in the hospital,

Educational Rights under McKinney-Vento

Remain in the school of origin (to the extent
Transportation to the school of origin
Immediate enrollment
Access to programs and services

Local Homeless Education Liaison Duties

Helping unaccompanied youth enroll in and select
Informing them of rights to transportation to the
school of origin and assisting with arranging
Informing them of right to appeal school selection
decisions counter to their wishes
Informing school personnel of requirements of the
law and needs of youth

  Must schools enroll youth in school if there is
  no proof of guardianship?

Yes. Lack of guardianship papers cannot delay or
  prevent enrollment.
School districts may establish their own policies to
  meet this mandate.
  Permit the youth to enroll himself or herself
  The local liaison handles enrollment
  The school district uses a caregiver form to allow
  adult caregivers to enroll youth. (Not a substitute
  for power of attorney.)

   Power of Attorney-TCA 34-6-106
 serious illness or incarceration of parent
 physical/mental condition of parent or child
 is such that care/supervision of child cannot
 be given; or
 loss or unhabitability of child’s home as a
 result of a natural disaster
Although ―other‖ is usually on POA forms, TN law states that an LEA is
   not required to enroll a student unless they fall within one of the 3
   hardships specifically listed. ―Other‖ circumstances are determined on
   a case-by-case basis. Factors are listed at TCA § 49-6-3103.

 Power of Attorney

In order to be useful, the POA,
  can (and should) be specific
  about what is and is not

    Caregiver Form--available at NCHE at and

          Caregiver Authorization Form
This form is intended to address the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
    (P.L. 107-110) requirement that homeless children have access to education
    and other services for which they are eligible. The McKinney-Vento Homeless
    Assistance Act states specifically that barriers to enrollment must be removed.
    In some cases, a child or youth who is homeless may not be able to reside with
    his/her parent or guardian; however, this fact does not nullify the
    child’s/youth’s right to receive a free, appropriate public education.
Complete this form for a child/youth presenting himself/herself for enrollment
    while not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.
    ■ To authorize the enrollment in school of a minor, complete items 1 through 4
    and sign the form.
    ■ To authorize the enrollment and school-related medical care of a minor,
    complete all items and sign the form.
     Caregiver Authorization Form
I am 18 years of age or older and have agreed to fulfill the role of caregiver for the minor named below.

1. Name of minor: ______________________________________________________________
2. Minor’s date of birth: ____________________________________________________________
3. My name (adult giving authorization): ______________________________________________
4. My home address: _____________________________________________________________
5. Check one or both (for example, if one parent was advised and the other could not be located):
____ I have advised the parent(s) or other person(s) having legal custody of the minor as to my intent to
     authorize medical care and have received no objection.
 ____I am unable to contact the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) at this time to notify them of my intended
6. My date of birth: _______________________________________________________________
7. My state driver’s license or identification card number: _________________________________
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of this state that the foregoing information is true and
Signature: _________________________________________ Date: _______________________
              Adapted from materials produced by the California Department of Education.
              As with any legal document, the local educational agency’s legal counsel should be

  Can a school require a caregiver to get legal
  guardianship or power of attorney to enroll a
  student in school?

No, school districts must enroll youth in
 school even if they do not have
 guardianship documents or POA

The decision to seek legal guardianship or
 power of attorney does not impact whether
 or not a school should enroll a youth.
  Do 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 youth.
There is no set TN law making this
 requirement. Any instances of child neglect
 must be reported to DCS – See TCA 37-1-

Do schools have to contact the police when
enrolling unaccompanied youth? Cont’d.

Most state laws that address this issue permit, but
do not require, schools to report runaway youth;
many laws also give schools the option to contact
social services instead of the police.
Schools must enroll youth immediately.
The 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.
    Do schools have to contact the police when
    enrolling unaccompanied youth? Cont’d.

   Definition of Runaway – TCA §37-5-502(2) – any person under
   eighteen (18) years of age who is away from the home or residence of
   such person’s parents without such parents’ or guardians’ consent.
   ―Runaway‖ does not include persons under eighteen (18) years of age
   who lawfully reside with a close relative or those attending educational
   institutions, or those placed by court order, on a contractual agreement
   with a parent or guardian.
   Sanctuary – TCA §37-2-502 – means a house, institution or other
   organization providing housing or accommodations to runaways.
   In Tennessee any runaway that is seeking sanctuary may be given
   shelter for 72 hours, provided that a good faith attempt is made to
   notify the juvenile court with jurisdiction in the county, in which the
   runaway house is located, or the runaway’s parent or guardian, of the
   runaway’s location within 1 hour of the runaway’s arrival. See TCA §

  What if an unaccompanied youth has been
  suspended for misbehavior from his/her former
  school? Must the school enroll this student?

The McKinney-Vento Act does not overrule state or
   local discipline policies. If a youth is suspended
   for behavior unrelated to his or her homelessness,
   regular enrollment procedures apply.
If discipline action was taken against a youth for
   reasons related to homelessness (for example,
   excessive absences caused by homelessness), the
   youth should not be penalized or denied
   enrollment and the policy should be revised.

  ―Rule of Thumb‖ regarding Discipline

It is always important to assess the reasons for
   a youth’s behavior to determine
   Additional supports that might be needed
   (i.e. counseling or other supportive services)
   Potential need for special education

   Who 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 procedures:
   Youth make decisions on their own;
   Local liaison makes decisions;
   Caregiver forms allow other adults to make decisions.
There is not a Tennessee State law regarding this issue. Look
  to federal guidelines*; may be able to use caregiver forms.
Reminder: Federal Law*—Homeless UY must be able to
  participate fully in school activities.

Can unaccompanied youth participate on sports
teams in regards to requirements for living in the
district for a certain amount of time?

The Supreme Court has ruled that athletic
associations are ―state actors.‖
Federal and state laws apply.
Athletic associations cannot enforce
policies that pose barriers to participation or
stigmatize students on the basis of their

Who can make decisions related to special
education for an unaccompanied youth?

IDEA requires LEAs to appoint surrogate
parents when appropriate.
IDEA regulations state that LEAs must
appoint temporary surrogate parents for
unaccompanied youth when needed;
Congress specified that these may include
staff members of emergency shelters,
transitional shelters, independent living
programs and outreach programs.
What about school liability or parental

Liability is based on the concept of
negligence—schools are not being negligent
when they follow federal law.

Can 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.
Many exceptions exist to this general rule;
many state and local statutes exist.

   Can unaccompanied youth consent to their
   own medical treatment? Cont’d.

Tennessee does not have a statute on this issue; however,
  there is case law which states that if the youth is
  considered as a mature minor, parental consent is not
  needed. Cardwell v. Bechtol, 724 S.W.2d 739 (Tenn.
  1987). To determine the maturity of a minor, the Court
  used the common law Rule of Sevens: under the age of 7 –
  there is no capacity to consent; between ages 7-14 – there
  is a rebuttable presumption of no capacity to consent; and
  over the age of 14 – there is a rebuttable presumption of
  capacity to consent.

Can unaccompanied youth consent to their
own medical treatment? Cont’d.

Drug Abusers – TCA § 63-6-220 – Physicians may treat
juvenile drug abusers without prior parental consent. The
physician may use discretion in determining whether to
notify parent of treatment.
Prenatal Care – TCA § 63-6-223 – Physician can provide
prenatal care, examine, diagnose, and treat a minor without
the knowledge or consent of the parent/guardian.
Immunizations – Tennessee does not have a specific law
re: consent to unaccompanied youth, just states look to
federal law, including McKinney-Vento – TCA § 49-6-

    What if an unaccompanied youth is injured in
    school? How will the student receive medical care
    without a parent to sign? Will the school be liable?

  In a medical emergency, medical professionals should be familiar with
  rules to treat minors and will respond appropriately.
  The school will be protected from liability by exercising reasonable
  care in responding to a medical emergency—essentially, this is the
  same standard that applies to youth who are not unaccompanied.
  Most states do not require parental consent for emergency care.
Tennessee--Emergency Medical Treatment
TCA § 63-6-222 – physician can treat minor without parental consent
  when there is a good faith belief that the delay in rendering emergency
  care would, to a reasonable degree of certainty, result in a serious
  threat to the life of the minor or such emergency treatment is necessary
  to save the minor’s life or prevent further deterioration of the minor’s
  condition. Such treatment shall be commenced only after a reasonable
  effort is made to notify the minor’s parent(s)/guardian(s).

Can unaccompanied youth apply for federal financial aid (through Free
Application for Federal Student Aid [FAFSA]) without providing
information about their parents’ income and their parents’ signature?

Under the Higher Education Act, youth who meet the definition of
―independent student‖ can apply for federal aid without parental
information or signature
A financial aid administrator at a college can also designate a student
as independent due to ―other unusual circumstances.‖
In September of 2007, President Bush signed into law the College Cost
Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-84). Included within this
legislation are amendments to expand the definition of independent
student in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (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.

Can unaccompanied youth apply for federal financial aid (through Free
Application for Federal Student Aid [FAFSA]) without providing
information about their parents’ income and their parents’ signature?

The legislation allows youth to be considered independent students if they are
verified as unaccompanied and homeless during the school year in which the
application is submitted, or as unaccompanied, at risk of homelessness, and
self-supporting. Verification must be made by one of the following: (1) a
McKinney-Vento Act school district liaison; (2) a U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development homeless assistance program director or their
designee; (3) a Runaway and Homeless Youth Act program director or their
designee, or; (4) a financial aid administrator. The law thus 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.
The changes to the definition of ―independent student‖ in the College Cost
Reduction and Access Act do not go into effect until July 1, 2009. The reason
for this effective date is that these provisions were included in a part of the bill
that impacts mandatory spending. Funding is provided, but does not become
available until the fiscal year starting July 1, 2009.
More information about assisting Unaccompanied Youth access college
financial aid, including What Can Liaisons and Service Providers Do Now to
Assist Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, is located at .
Can an unaccompanied youth enroll in Job
Corps without parental approval?

Federal Job Corps policy requires the signature of
a parent or guardian.
Job Corps programs can waive the requirement for
youth who have no parent or guardian, cannot
locate parent or guardian, are legally emancipated,
have parents who do not object to participation—
advocates can use this to assist unaccompanied
youth to enroll without parent signature.

What obligation does a school have to help
unaccompanied youth make up lost credits?

Many youth lose credits due to mobility and
absences—consequences of homelessness.
MV requires that schools and districts remove
barriers to enrollment and retention and provide
academic support—LEA policies should be
Youth should be provided academic support
through tutoring, programs with cooperating
universities, or online courses, for example;
appropriate use of Title I set-aside funds.

Should unaccompanied youth be encouraged to
enroll in GED programs or alternative schools?

Youth should have the opportunity to be
part of the mainstream school environment,
including extra curricular activities.
Diversified learning opportunities, when
appropriate, include vocational education,
credit-for-work programs, and flexible
school hours.

Should unaccompanied youth be encouraged to
enroll in GED programs or alternative schools?

TN—LEA has the authority under statute
for school assignment.
Youth must be given information about
right to appeal assignment.

Tips for a coordinated approach to
addressing the needs of unaccompanied youth

Involve school counselors and/or social services early to
determine if problems in the family can be worked out and,
if not, make referrals for youth to ensure his/her basic
needs are met.
Review policies regarding unaccompanied youth.
Create a task force that includes representatives from the
LEA, social services, child welfare, juvenile justice, law
enforcement, youth shelters, etc., to review and revise
policies and to establish agreed upon procedures.
Provide information to staff at all schools to ensure all are
aware of McKinney-Vento rights and procedures and
policies that facilitate enrollment and academic success.
Keep the needs of the youth central to the decision making
Resources about Unaccompanied
NCHE Resources on this topic, including several briefs, booklet for
youth, etc.
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty’s Legal Tools To
End Youth Homelessness
Coming soon--NAEHCY publication "Using What We Know:
Supporting the Education of Unaccompanied Homeless Youth―—is in
editing status
This document, the result of interviews with over 100 NAEHCY
members, discusses the policy changes and practical strategies that are
necessary for unaccompanied youth to reach their educational and
professional goals.

For additional questions and help,

Christie Lentz, 931-381-7055,
Karen Munn, 615-532-6309,
html )

Lesley Farmer, 615-253-1550,
( )

Diana Bowman, 336-315-7453,
( )

For additional questions and help,

Barbara Duffield,,
202-364-7392 (

Patricia Julianelle,

Eric Tars, 202-638-2535 (

  We wish to give credit to the following persons, as well as to express our
  appreciation to them, for allowing us to use their audio training
  presentation which we adapted for Tennessee.

 National Law Center on Homelessness &
 National Association for the Education of
       Homeless Children and Youth
 National Center for Homeless Education

Joy Moses Barbara Duffield
          Patricia Julianelle Diana Bowman

To top