Attention Parents & Guardians:
Federal guidelines, as set forth in No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, require that school districts identify children who are homeless (temporarily displaced). The federal mandate, and the intention of Hopewell Area School District. is to ensure that homeless children and youth have access to free appropriate public education on an equal basis with other children. Children who are homeless, including those living with others, may qualify for assistance for lunch, with school supplies/materials, with tutoring, and with transportation so that they can remain in their school of origin.
If you believe your child(ren) may qualify for this service, please contact the principal of your child(ren)'s school or the district Homeless Liaison, Donna Steff at 724-375-6691 x5205 or [email protected].
Homeless children may be identified as living in the following situations:
1. children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals;
2. children and youths 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;
3. children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings;
4. “migratory children” who qualify as homeless under federal law because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii) above. The term "migratory children" means children who are (or whose parent(s) or spouse(s) are) migratory agricultural workers, including migratory dairy workers or migratory fishermen, and who have moved from one school district to another in the preceding 36 months, in order to obtain (or accompany such parents or spouses in order to obtain) temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural or fishing work; and,
5. "Unaccompanied homeless youth" including any child who is "not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian." This includes youth who have run away from home, been thrown out of their home, been abandoned by parents or guardians, or separated from their parents for any other reason.
Communication and collaboration among education and child welfare professionals is critical to support school stability and continuity for children in out-of-home care. The law requires child welfare and local education agencies to work together to promote school stability and continuity including trying to ensure children remain in the school in which they were enrolled at the time of placement when it is in their best interest. Best practice would suggest that decisions be made collaboratively between school personnel, child welfare agencies and any other individual involved in the child’s case including the child, resource parent, child advocate and attorney. It is imperative that caseworkers and school district administration and staff work together to help ensure the educational progress of all students.
Under the Pennsylvania Education for Homeless Children and Youth State Plan, homeless children are defined as “children living with a parent in a domestic violence shelter; runaway children and children, and youth who have been abandoned or forced out of their home by parents or other caretakers; and school-aged parents living in houses for school-aged parents if they have no other available living accommodations.”
The McKinney-Vento Act states that it is the policy of Congress that state educational agencies shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths 42 U.S.C. § 11431. Specifically, 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g) (3) (A) indicates that the local educational agency (LEA) shall, according to the child’s best interest: In accordance with Section 722 (g) (3) (B) (ii), the local educational agency:
1. must presume that keeping a homeless child or youth in the school of origin is in the child’s or youth’s best interest unless doing so is contrary to the request of the child’s or youth’s parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth;
2. must consider student-centered factors related to a child’s or youth’s best interest, giving priority to the request of the child’s or youth’s parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth; or
3. if the LEA determines that it is not in a child’s or youth’s best interest to attend the school of origin, or the school requested by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth, it must provide a written explanation of the reasons for its determination, in a manner and form that is understandable.
According to the McKinney-Vento Act the term "school of origin" means the school the child or youth attended when permanently housed, or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled. 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g) (3) (G).
The McKinney-Vento Act states that it is the policy of Congress that state educational agencies shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.
If your living situation changes during the school year or over the summer, and you and your child(ren) become homeless, please be sure to contact the school. We will work with you so that your child(ren)'s education is disrupted as little as possible.