Homeless Children and Youth
The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act ensures educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness. It is designed to help expedite the school enrollment of homeless children and youth. State and local educational agencies must ensure that homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free public education as is provided to other children and youth. All educational agencies must review and revise any practices or policies that may act as barriers to the enrollment, attendance, or success in school of homeless children and youth.
The Volusia County School District receives grant funding from the Florida Department of Education to assist with compliance of the McKinney-Vento Act. The grant provides funding for a district level homeless education liaison that has the primary responsibility for the implementation of the grant and coordination of all its components. Two informative resource guides to area/national services for the homeless, What Families Need to Know about Homelessness and Public Education and Finding Your Way, have been developed and distributed to the schools in printed version (English and Spanish). The brochures are available in the Information for Parents section below.
A District Homeless Education Steering Committee was established in the spring of 2002 to identify and remove any existing educational barriers for students living in homeless situations. Representatives on this committee include major school system departments such as Transportation, Student Records, Zoning, Food and Nutrition Services, Title I, Student Services, and Management Information Services. Agencies that serve the homeless also have representatives on this committee. Policies and procedures relevant to homeless education legislation are reviewed by the committee and appropriate changes are then made. District transportation procedures have been put in place to ensure service to these students. Other departments, such as School Way Café, have made modifications to their procedures. The district liaison is responsible for coordination of these efforts.
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Who is Defined as Homeless?
Homeless children and youth mean those individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
The term includes:
- Children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, travel trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters, or abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;
- Children and youth who 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 beings;
- Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
- Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.
- Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Presentation
- Volusia County Schools - Manual for Enrolling and Serving Homeless Students
- Quick Tips for School Staff for Homeless
- Homeless Checklist
- Student Residency Information
- Homeless Policy
- Every Child Has a Right to Education poster
Upon identification of a student who appears to meet the definition as described above, school personnel should refer to the registrar for updated coding. Every effort should be made by all school personnel to properly identify homeless children and youth and connect them with appropriate personnel and/or services that best meet their needs.
Additional information about enrolling and serving homeless students can be found in the VCS Manual for Enrolling and Serving Homeless Students.
Information for Parents
- What Families Need to Know about Homelessness and Public Education
- What Families Need to Know about Homelessness and Public Education (Spanish)
- Finding Your Way - A Guide to Resources in Volusia County
- Finding Your Way - A Guide to Resources in Volusia County (Spanish version)
Information Concerning Rights to an Education
- Florida Department of Education - Homeless Education Information
- Technical Assistance Paper - Coordination of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements
- Act of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- Technical Assistance Paper - Education of Homeless Children and Youth
- Best Interest Determination & Dispute Resolution Process Manual