Education for Homeless
Who is homeless according to the McKinney-Vento Definition:
- A homeless child or youth ages 3-21;
- A child who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence and includes the following:
- A child who is sharing the housing of others (includes doubled-up families) due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; is living in a motel, hotel or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations, is living in an emergency or transitional shelter; is abandoned at a hospital.
- A child who has 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.
- A child who is living in a car, park, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station, or similar setting; or
- A migratory child/youth who qualifies as homeless because of the living circumstances described above.
- Includes youth who have run away or youth being forced to leave home.
- Children experiencing homelessness can remain in their school of origin for the duration of homelessness and until the end of an academic year in which they obtain permanent housing, if it is in their best interest.
- LEAs must make best interest determinations that presume that staying in the school of origin is in the best interest of the child; consider specific student-centered factors: prioritize the wishes of the parent/guardian/unaccompanied youth; and include a written explanation and right to appeal if the LEA determines that school stability is not in the best interest of the child.
- The definition of school of origin now includes both the designated receiving school at the next grade level (if there is a feeder school pattern) and preschools.
- Transportation to the school of origin is required, including until the end of the academic year when a student obtains permanent housing.
School Enrollment and Participation
- Homeless children must be enrolled in school immediately, even if they lack documents or have missed application or enrollment deadlines during any period of homelessness.
- SEAs and LEAs must develop, review and revise policies to remove barriers to the identification, enrollment and retention of homeless students in school, including barriers due to fees, fines and absences.
- If a dispute arises over eligibility, school selection or enrollment, the child must be immediately enrolled in the school in which the parent/guardian/unaccompanied youth seeks enrollment, pending resolution of the dispute, including all available appeals.
- States must have procedures to ensure that homeless children do not face barriers to accessing academic and extracurricular activities.
Local Homeless Liaison: Every Iowa public school district is required to have a liaison for homeless students. The contact for the Fort Dodge Community School District is Kirsten Doebel, Director of Secondary Education Services. She can be reached at 515.574.5650.
(McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 2001- Title X, Part C of the No Child Left Behind Act - Sec. 725)