The Homeless Education Program ensures access to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for children and youth experiencing homelessness in accordance with McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act.
The Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program is authorized under Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.) (McKinney-Vento Act). The McKinney-Vento Act was originally authorized in 1987 and most recently re-authorized in December 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). These guidelines address ways in which a State may (1) assist local educational agencies (LEAs) to implement the provisions related to homeless children and youths amended by the ESSA and (2) review and revise policies and procedures that may present barriers to the identification, enrollment, attendance, and success of homeless children and youths in school.
Children and Youth who are experiencing homelessness have the legal right to:
- Immediate Enrollment
- Remain at their School of Origin or attend the zoned school in which they temporary reside
- Transportation to their School of Origin
- Dispute Resolution
The Program for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth provides assistance with the following services:
- Graduation fees
- Academic Tutoring Service
- Internet, cell phone or tablets
- School Uniforms
- Free Lunch Program
- Eye and Shoe Vouchers
- Afterschool program
- Extracurricular Activities
- Basic need referrals (food, clothing, housing)
The Homeless Education Liaison acts as a link between family, shelter, school system and community resources to coordinate educational services for homeless students. The Liaison renews and/or develops an awareness and sensitivity to the needs of homeless children and youth among school system and community services personnel through presentations and other activities. The ultimate role of the Liaison is to eliminate barriers to school enrollment, attendance and academic success for each child.
Frequently Asked Questions:Homelessness Defined. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. Section 11434a (2) et.seq., identifies homeless students as those who:1. Lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence;2. Share the housing of other persons due to the loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; live in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; live in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;3. Have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings4. Live in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; or5. Are migratory and live in the conditions set forth in items 2, 3, and 4 above.What schools would a homeless student attend? The student may:1. Continue enrollment in the school of origin; or2. Enroll in the school serving the attendance zone where the student is physically residing.How long can a homeless student who attends his/her school of origin remain? A student who is or becomes homeless may:1. Attend the school of origin for the duration of homelessness, whether the homelessness condition occurs during or between academic year.2. Stay in the school for the remainder of the academic year if the student becomes permanently housed during the academic year. The student must transfer to the school zoned for the permanent residence at the beginning of the next academic year.
Is transportation provided? If the student continues enrollment in the school of origin while staying at a temporary residence outside of the school zone, transportation will be provided to and from the school of origin if requested by the parent/guardian/caregiver/unaccompanied youth. Provision of transportation assistance will be made in the best interest of the child. Requests for transportation may be made directly to the homeless liaison or the school social worker.
What is the student is an Unaccompanied Youth? The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act defines unaccompanied youth as youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian [42 U.S.C. §11434A (6)] and eligible for immediate school enrollment. The absence of an available caregiver should not impede enrollment. Unaccompanied, homeless youth, who are on their own completely, should be enrolled in school immediately, even if the child or youth is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, proof of residency, or other documentation. [42 U.S.C. §§11432(g)(3)( C)(i)]. Schools cannot require caregivers to become legal guardians within a certain period of time after the child enrolls in school.
If a homeless student arrives at school without a parent/guardian, the student shall be enrolled and the school social worker notified. The social worker shall contact the parent/guardian and complete the enrollment process. Students must meet age eligibility criteria for enrollment. The Caregiver Authorization form can be used to enroll a homeless student without a parent or legal guardian. However, this form should not create further barriers or delay school enrollment for unaccompanied youth without the support of a caregiver.What if the parent has an issue or dispute? The parent /guardian or unaccompanied youth should contact the school social worker or the APS homeless liaison. The parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth can also ask the school for a Dispute Resolution Form.Sana Ali, LMSWHome Liaison130 Trinity Ave, 6th FloorAtlanta, GA 30303Telephone: 404-802-2245Fax: 404-802-1205