What if 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.