Policy JFABD: Homelessness

As part of the No Child Left Behind legislation, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was reauthorized. The purpose of this Act is to ensure educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness.

  1. Homeless students must be provided with access to the same free, appropriate public education that is provided to other children and youth.
  2. Homeless students have the right to either remain in their school of origin or to attend school where they are temporarily residing;
  3. Students who choose to remain in their school of origin have the right to remain there until the end of the school year in which they get permanent housing;
  4. Students who chose to enroll in school where they are temporarily residing must be enrolled immediately, even if they do not bring the records usually required for enrollment with them. McKinney-Vento is a federal law, the requirements of which override the immunization laws of Massachusetts. If a homeless child arrives lacking immunizations or medical records, the parent/guardian will be referred to the district’s Liaison, who has the responsibility to obtain relevant academic records, immunizations or medical records and to ensure that homeless students are attending school while the records are obtained; and
  5. If a homeless student arrives without records, the school district’s designated Homeless Education Liaison must assist the family and contact the previously attended school system to obtain the required records.

McKinney-Vento permits homeless students to remain in their school of origin, despite their residential instability, and to receive transportation services that will help provide educational stability. Transportation is to be arranged as follows:

  1. If the homeless student continues to live in the area served by the district in which the school is located, that district must provide or arrange transportation;
  2. If the homeless students moves to an area served by another district, though continuing his or her education at the school of origin, the district of origin and the district in which the student resides must agree upon a method to apportion responsibility and costs for transportation to the school of origin; and
  3. If the districts cannot agree upon such a method, the responsibility and costs must be shared equally.

McKinney-Vento also requires that school districts ensure that homeless children and youth are able to participate in Federal, State or local food programs.

The determination for eligibility for free meal benefits is flexible, allowing benefits to be made available to homeless students as soon as possible.

  1. To expedite delivery of meal benefits, the District will accept documentation that students are homeless from the Liaison or homeless shelter director.
  2. In lieu of normal documentation substantiating free meal eligibility, schools may simply have the child’s name, effective date, and signature of the Liaison or homeless shelter liaison. (If, at some point, the child is no longer homeless, the household must be provided with an application for free/reduced price meals.)
  3. A child or family may temporarily reside with another household and still be considered homeless under the definitions of homeless. In this case, the household size and income of the host family are not taken into consideration in determining the free meal eligibility for the children.

If a host family applies for free and reduced price meals for their own children, the host family may include the homeless family as household members if the host family provides financial support to the homeless individuals. Any income received by the homeless family must also be included.

LEGAL REF:

Title I, Part C
No Child Left Behind Act, 2002
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

Region Voted to Approve: 9/14/04
Amherst Voted to Approve: 9/21/04
Pelham Voted to Approve: 9/2/04
Effective Date: 9/14/04
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