“HOMELESS 101”— THE MCKINNEY-VENTO HOMELESS ASSISTANCE ACT Donna Cash State Homeless Coordinator STATE OF MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION PO BOX 480 JEFFERSON CITY, MO 65102-0480 (573) 522-8763 firstname.lastname@example.org Homelessness results from a complex set of circumstances. These circumstances require people to choose between food, shelter, and other basic needs. CAUSES OF HOMELESSNESS •lack of affordable housing •deep poverty (intergenerational poverty) •health problems •natural and other disasters •domestic violence •abuse/neglect KEY DATA CONCERNING HOMELESS CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN AMERICA 39% of America’s homeless population are children 42% of homeless children are under 5 years of age and of the 42%, only 15% are enrolled in pre-school 38% of the homeless population have less than a high school degree by age 18 50% of the homeless population report dropping out of school during the course of their education HOW MANY CHILDREN AND YOUTH EXPERIENCE POVERTY? a) 1.35 million children b) 10% of all children live in poverty c) 733,000-1.3 million youths POVERTY •affects 1.35 million children* •10% of all children live in poverty •733,000-1.3 million youths experience poverty every year •over 40% of all children who are homeless are under the age of 5 *Source: National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Over 12,000 Missouri students were identified as homeless in the 2007-2008 school year. PROBLEMS FOR HOMELESS CHILDREN •Enrollment requirements – they may not have: oSchool or immunization records oProof of residence or guardianship oOther records needed for enrollment •They have high mobility. oCreates a lack of school stability and educational continuity •Lack of transportation, school supplies, clothing, etc. •They may experience poor health, fatigue, and hunger. •They often face prejudice and misunderstanding. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act Main themes include: •school stability •school access •support for academic success •child-centered, best interest decision making DEFINITION For the purposes of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, homelessness is described as… “Children who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” http://www.dese.mo.gov/divimprove/fedprog/discretionarygrants Is there a time limit on how long a student can be considered homeless? a) Yes, the student is only homeless for one school year. b) No, there is no specific time limit on homelessness. Is there a time limit on how long a student can be considered homeless? No, there is no time limit on homelessness. Whether a child or youth meets the definition of homelessness depends upon their living situation And their individual circumstances. It is a case specific inquiry. DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY ARE THE SMITH CHILDREN HOMELESS? In March, the Smith family lost their home due to a fire. Mr. Smith’s brother is letting the family live in a trailer on his property until the house is repaired. Would you qualify the Smith children for services under McKinney-Vento? WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are the Smith children homeless or not? Why or why not? What questions do you need to ask to help you make your determination? How do you go about determining fixed, regular, and adequate? What services would they qualify for? SOME EXAMPLES OF HOMELESSNESS •living in motels, hotels, camping grounds •living in an emergency or transitional shelter •living in places not designed for humans to live •living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations •migratory children also qualify as homeless when living under these same conditions Students eligible for McKinney-Vento services include: •Children who are runaways – even if their parents have provided or are willing to provide a home for them. •Children who are ―throwaway children‖ should be considered homeless until a fixed, regular, and adequate residence is established for them. Students eligible for McKinney-Vento services include: •Children who live with friends or relatives because of loss of housing or other similar situation should be considered homeless. •Children living in ―doubled up‖ situations may be considered homeless if the family is doubled up or tripled up because of loss of housing or a similar situation. Students eligible for McKinney-Vento services include: •School aged, unwed mothers or mother-to-be who reside in a home for unwed mothers should be considered homeless if they have no other available living accommodations. •Undocumented children and youth have the same right to attend public school as U.S. citizens and are covered by the McKinney-Vento Act to the same extent as other children and youth (Plyler v. Doe). ARE CHILDREN WHO ARE AWAITING FOSTER CARE PLACEMENT ELIGIBLE FOR MCKINNEY-VENTO SERVICES? Yes or No? Are children awaiting foster care eligible for McKinney-Vento services? The answer is, yes. Local homeless liaisons should coordinate with local public social service agencies in determining how best to assist homeless children/youth awaiting foster care placement. Is transitional housing considered a homeless situation? Yes or No What do you think? IT IS CONSIDERED A HOMELESS SITUATION…YES The McKinney-Vento Act specifically applies to children and youth living in transitional shelters. This term includes transitional housing programs and transitional living programs. A Federal Court affirmed that transitional housing programs are covered by the McKinney-Vento Act. Bullock v. Board of Education of Montgomery County, Civ. A. DKC 2002-0709 (D. Md.) memorandum decision filed November 4, 2002. QUESTIONS YOU MAY NEED TO ASK… • Does the student have any legal rights to be in the home? In other words, can he/she be asked to leave at any time with no legal recourse? •Is the living situation intended to be temporary or long-term? •Did the student move into the home as an urgent measure to avoid being on the street or in another precarious situation? DO INCARCERATED YOUTH QUALIFY FOR MCKINNEY-VENTO PROTECTION AND SERVICES. Yes or No? INCARCERATED YOUTH QUALIFY FOR MCKINNEY-VENTO PROTECTION AND SERVICES. No. Children and youth who are incarcerated for violation or an alleged violation of the law should not be considered homeless. Incarcerated children and youth are part of the juvenile justice system. THE MCKINNEY-VENTO ACT APPLIES TO CHILDREN AND YOUTH AGE 21 AND UNDER. True or False? THE MCKINNEY-VENTO ACT APPLIES TO CHILDREN AND YOUTH AGE 21 AND UNDER. True. The Act applies to children and youth age 21 and under, consistent with their eligibility for public education services under state and federal law. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), provides rights to access services until age 22, with the exception of students with disabilities who are Incarcerated as adults and students with disabilities who have earned a high school diploma. If a student finds temporary housing across state lines from the school of origin, does the McKinney-Vento Act still apply? Yes or No? If a student finds temporary housing across state lines from the school of origin, does the McKinney-Vento Act still apply? Yes. Since the McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law, it takes precedence over state laws. You should have inter-LEA agreements that address potential transportation issues that may arise as homeless students transfer from one LEA to another. Homeless students in this situation should be allowed to attend their school of origin (if they wish) and you must provide transportation. Homeless eligibility can be handled in such a way that it does not violate privacy or jeopardize housing arrangements. It is up to the local liaison, enrollment staff, and/or other school personnel to be sensitive and discreet. Maria Maria and her seven-year-old and nine-year-old daughters have just moved into a homeless shelter. Maria visits the neighborhood school to enroll her daughters. She is given a list of required documents— items she does not have. Maria leaves, believing her daughters cannot attend the school. What went wrong here? Things to consider… •Should Maria be able to enroll her children? •Did/what went wrong? •What should have been done? What could be done to prevent this from happening in a school in your district? BREAK TIME! ENROLLMENT A student experiencing homelessness should be enrolled a) within 3 days of attempting to enroll b) immediately c) not until transportation has been arranged d) not until health information has been obtained A student experiencing homelessness should be enrolled Immediately ENROLLMENT •Enrollment questions must be grounded in sensitivity and respect. •Invasive probing may destabilize the family or youth further and may create a barrier to the student’s enrollment, thereby violating the McKinney-Vento Act. •Additionally, employing these techniques may violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). ENROLLMENT continued… •Do put good policies and procedures in place •Keep it positive and supportive instead of invasive and threatening •Talk with parents and students •Do sign the student up for free lunch •Get contact information for a family member or guardian REMEMBER DON’T— •Threaten or harass parents or students, violate their privacy, or jeopardize their housing •Pose barriers to enrollment School Districts must not— Require parents of homeless students to submit proof of residency. Which is false? A homeless student: a) May be enrolled immediately in school without certification of a school-entry examination or immunization. b) Will be removed from school if after 30 school days, he/she does not have a school-entry exam or immunization. Which is false? b) Will be removed from school if after 30 school days, he/she does not have a school-entry exam or immunization. The McKinney-Vento Act requires school districts to remove barriers to enrollment and retention. Schools are required to assist homeless students and their families in obtaining necessary records to enroll in school. Schools must immediately assist the parents (or unaccompanied youth) in obtaining necessary immunization and health records. WHAT IF? If, after enrollment, it is determined that a student is not homeless, but is permanently housed. What happens then? The LEA should follow the policies they have in place to address other forms of fraud. THE LOCAL LIAISON EVERY LEA MUST Designate an appropriate staff person as a local homeless education liaison. The homeless liaison must work to ensure that homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free public education as is provided to other children and youth. DUTIES OF THE LOCAL LIAISON Must collaborate and coordinate with— the State Coordinators for Homeless Education community personnel other school personnel •Inform parents, guardians, or youth of education and parent involvement opportunities. •Inform parents, guardians, or youth of transportation services, including the school of origin. •Resolve disputes. •Post public notice of educational rights. DUTIES OF THE LOCAL LIAISON CONTINUED… •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 students with educational services, including preschool and health services. •Provide awareness activities for school staff. •Provide outreach materials and posters where there is a frequent influx of low-income families and youth in high-risk situations. DUTIES OF THE LOCAL LIAISON CONTINUED… •Educate school staff about ―warning signs‖ that may indicate an enrolled child or youth may be experiencing homelessness. •Make special efforts to identify preschool children, including asking about the siblings of school-age children. •Develop relationships with truancy officials and/or other attendance officers •Use enrollment and withdrawal forms to inquire about living situations DO’S AND DON’TS FOR LOCAL LIAISON •Do ensure there is immediate enrollment •Don’t create barriers to enrollment including those posed by a: •lack of school records •proof of guardianship •birth certificates •immunization or other health records •proof of residence INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION Has been described as… Rarer than we think, Harder than we think, And more promising than we think! SCHOOL SELECTION SCHOOL SELECTION SCHOOL OF ORIGIN OR SCHOOL OF RESIDENCE The school of origin is the school that the child or youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled. The school of residence is the current physical dwelling where the homeless child or youth is sleeping. SCHOOL SELECTION continued… •Students can continue attending their school of origin the entire time they are homeless and until the end of any academic year in which they move into permanent housing. •If a student is sent to a school other than the school of origin or the school requested by the parent or guardian the LEA must provide the parent or guardian with a written explanation of its decision and the right to appeal. TRANSPORTATION… WHICH FUNDS BELOW MAY BE USED TO TRANSPORT HOMELESS STUDENTS TO AND FROM THE SCHOOL OF ORIGIN? a. Title I, Part A funds b. Title V, Part A funds c. Title X, Part C funds d. District transportation funds WHICH FUNDS BELOW MAY BE USED TO TRANSPORT HOMELESS STUDENTS TO AND FROM THE SCHOOL OF ORIGIN? District transportation funds In addition to providing transportation to the school of origin, LEAs must provide students in homeless situations with transportation services comparable to those provided to other students. TRANSPORTATION •Homeless students must be provided with transportation to and from their school of origin. •For unaccompanied youth, transportation to and from the school of origin must be provided at the local liaison’s request. •If the student’s temporary residence and the school of origin are in the same LEA, that LEA must provide transportation. TRANSPORTATION CONTINUED… •However, if the student is living outside the school of origin’s LEA, the LEA where the student is living and the school of origin’s LEA must determine how to divide the cost of providing transportation . •Transportation must also be provided for homeless students when comparable services are provided to other students. QUESTIONS TO ASK •What is the school of best interest? •How old is the student? Is a three hour bus ride too long? •Is the student old enough and responsible enough to take public transportation? In what circumstance would transportation be provided to preschool homeless children? a. All homeless children attending preschool. b. Homeless children attending public preschool if the LEA provides comparable transportation for non-homeless preschool children. c. No circumstance. McKinney-Vento does not apply to homeless pre-school children. THE ANSWER IS… Homeless children attending public preschool if the LEA provides comparable transportation for non-homeless preschool children. DISPUTE RESOLUTION Which is correct? a) A homeless student who enrolls in a new school because he was not informed of his right to remain in the school of origin, has the right to go back to the school of origin. b) Once a homeless student enrolls in a new school, that school becomes his new school of origin and he cannot return to the previous school, regardless of whether he was not informed of his/her rights. Which is correct? A homeless student who enrolls in a new school because he/she was not informed of their right to remain in the school of origin, has the right to go back to the school of origin. DISPUTE RESOLUTION •Every school district in Missouri must establish 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. •Liaisons must ensure unaccompanied youth are enrolled immediately while the dispute is being resolved. RESOLUTION PROCEDURES continued… •If a dispute arises, refer the child, youth, parent, or guardian to the liaison to carry out the dispute resolution process as expeditiously as possible. •Documentation should be kept for all local liaison interventions with parents—not just formal disputes (NCLB). DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS True or False? The LEA does not have to provide transportation to the selected school for the duration of the dispute resolution process. DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS False While the dispute resolution process is underway, the student can attend and receive transportation to the school of choice until the dispute resolution process is completed. SEGREGATION While waiting on school records or assessments, LEAs a) May keep homeless students in ―transitional classrooms‖ in shelters, to receive educational services while they are being assessed or while they wait for school records. b) Must enroll homeless students immediately. While waiting on school records or assessments, LEAs Must enroll homeless students immediately. Placing homeless students in ―transitional classrooms‖ is illegal— Even if those classrooms are in homeless shelters. SEGREGATION School District cannot segregate homeless students •they cannot have separate programs within the school or •have separate settings within the school IF A HOMELESS STUDENT RESIDES IN A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTER, THE SCHOOL: a) Should take all necessary steps to protect children who are victims of domestic violence and keep the students in the regular school program. a) May separate homeless students from the regular school program for their protection. IF A HOMELESS STUDENT RESIDES IN A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTER, THE SCHOOL: Should take all necessary steps to protect children who are victims of domestic violence and keep the students in the regular school program. School Districts must adopt policies and practices to ensure students are not segregated or stigmatized on the basis of their status as homeless. HOMELESS AND TITLE I TITLE I AND MCKINNEY-VENTO •A child or youth who is homeless and is attending any school in the district is automatically eligible for Title I. A services. •LEAs must reserve (or set aside) funds. •In Missouri, Title I. funds may not be used to transport homeless children and youth. TITLE I SET ASIDE & HOMELESS Method #1— Reserve the set aside amount on what you would be eligible for if you were applying for a McKinney-Vento subgrant. Method #2— Reserve the set aside amount based on a percentage. Method #3— Reserve the set aside amount based on your homeless student count and Title I, Part A per-pupil allocation. Method #4— Reserve the set aside amount based on homeless student’s needs. TRUE OR FALSE? A homeless student who becomes permanently housed during a school year continues to remain eligible for Title I. Part A services for the remainder of that school year. True. Homeless students who become permanently housed during the school year remain eligible for Title I. Part A services until the end of the school year. USE OF TITLE I. FUNDS •Outreach services •Basic needs •Counseling services •Supplemental instruction •Parental involvement programs •Before/after-school, and/or summer programs •Research-based programs •Data collection HOMELESS CENSUS HOMELESS CENSUS The information collected includes: •Name of homeless student •Grade level •Primary night time residence Night time Residence Definition •Not Homeless (NH) •Shelters (SH) •Unsheltered (US) •Doubled Up (DU) •Hotel/Motel (HM) SCHOOL LUNCH SCHOOL LUNCHES Homeless children and youth automatically qualify for the Free and Reduced lunch program. •They do not have to have a parent/guardian signature. EARLY CHILDHOOD EARLY CHILDHOOD (HEAD START) Head Start reauthorization includes a definition of homelessness that matches the definition of homelessness in the education subtitle of the McKinney- Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which governs public schools. HEAD START AND HOMELESS •Homeless children are categorically eligible for Head Start [42 U.S.C. 9840(a)(1)(B)]. •Implies that verification of homeless living situation suffices. •Under McKinney-Vento, determinations of eligibility are case-by-case, individualized. TO DO LIST FOR THE 2009-2010 SCHOOL YEAR… TO DO LIST Conduct ongoing awareness activities in the school district. Provide annual awareness and sensitivity training to all school staff, including administrators, counselors, social workers, teachers, secretaries, registrars, nurses, bus drivers, security staff, attendance officers, and federal programs staff. REVIEW, REVISE, AND DEVELOP •Enrollment Identification •Needs Assessment •Placement •Services •Records Transfer •Homeless Coordinator •Resolution of Grievances THANK YOU! I AM A RESOURCE FOR YOU. PLEASE CONTACT ME AT 573-522-8763 OR BY E-MAIL email@example.com QUESTIONS?