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Policy 9300 - Homeless Children and Youth

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to ensure that children and youth who are homeless are enrolled in the HCPSS without barriers and that they receive equal access to all educational programs and school-related activities.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County is committed to ensuring that all children and youth have equal access to educational programs and school-related activities. To that end, the Board seeks to eliminate all barriers to the enrollment of children and youth who are homeless and eligible to attend public school in Howard County.

The Board further ensures that staff will assist all children and youth who are homeless and enrolled in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) in maintaining a stable educational environment by minimizing the effects of homelessness on their academic achievement and their social-emotional development.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to ensure that children and youth who are homeless are enrolled in the HCPSS without barriers and that they receive equal access to all educational programs and school-related activities.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Dispute Resolution – A process for addressing disagreements regarding the enrollment, school selection, or services for children and youth who are homeless.

  2. Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – A federal law codified at 20 U.S. Code §6301 et sq. whose stated purpose is to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.

  3. Homeless Advisory Committee – A group of school-based and community representatives involved in the coordinated delivery of services to children and youth who are homeless.

  4. Homeless Education Liaison – Individual identified by the school district to ensure that the rights of students who are homeless, in accordance with McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (hereinafter known as the McKinney-Vento Act), are protected.

  5. Homeless Student – A student who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, whether or not the temporary housing is located in Howard County, including:

    1. Students who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing or to economic hardship, or due to a similar reason; living in motels, hotels, transitional housing, or campgrounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; living in emergency or transitional shelters; abandoned in hospitals; are runaways, living in shelters or other inadequate accommodations.

    2. Students 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. Students who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.

    4. Migratory students as defined under federal law who qualify as homeless because they are living in the circumstances above.

  6. McKinney-Vento Act – A federal law that describes the educational rights of children and youth who are homeless.

  7. Parent – Any one of the following, recognized as the adult(s) legally responsible for the student:

    1. Biological Parent – A natural parent whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    2. Adoptive Parent – A person who has legally adopted the student and whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    3. Custodian – A person or an agency appointed by the court as the legal custodian of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    4. Guardian – A person who had been placed by the court in charge of the affairs of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    5. Caregiver – An adult resident of Howard County who exercises care, custody or control over the student, but who is neither the biological parent nor legal guardian, as long as the person satisfies the requirements of the Education Article §7-101 (c) (Informal Kinship Care).

    6. Foster Parent – An adult approved to care for a child who has been placed in their home by a state agency or a licensed child placement agency as provided by the Family Law Article §5-507.

  8. School-Aged Students – Students who meet the age registration requirements for admission to a Maryland public school.

  9. School-Related Activities – On- or off-premises activity in which a student directly participates (e.g., field trip, school system-sponsored athletic event, class/graduation activities), or one in which the student does not directly participate but represents the school or student body simply by being there (e.g., spectator at a school system-sponsored event).

  10. Title 1 – A federally funded program designed to ensure all children access to a high-quality education.

IV. Standards

  1. The rights of all children and youth who are homeless and eligible for enrollment in the HCPSS will be protected in accordance with the McKinney-Vento Act.

  2. Children and youth who are homeless are eligible for services described under Title I, Part A of the Elementary Students Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), whether or not they reside in a Title I school attendance area or meet the academic standards required of other children for eligibility.

  3. Reasonable efforts will be made to identify all school-aged children and youth residing in Howard County who are homeless.

  4. Students who are homeless will be enrolled in school as soon as information is received that the student is homeless.

  5. Students who are homeless and become permanently housed during the school year will retain McKinney-Vento protections for the remainder of that school year.

  6. Students who are homeless will be provided services comparable to the services offered to other students in the school in which the homeless student is enrolled.

  7. Students who are homeless and meet academic eligibility requirements are eligible to participate in extracurricular activities, including interscholastic athletics.

  8. Transportation will be provided for students who are homeless in accordance with requirements in the McKinney-Vento Act.

  9. Food and nutrition services will be provided immediately upon the identification or enrollment of a student who is homeless.

  10. Information will be provided annually for school-based staff regarding the McKinney-Vento Act, the unique needs of students who are homeless, and staff’s role in working with these students.

  11. The HCPSS will designate a Homeless Education Liaison for students who are homeless.

  12. The dispute resolution process will be used to resolve all disputes regarding enrollment, school selection, and services for students who are homeless.

  13. The Homeless Advisory Committee will assist with coordination of delivery of services to children and youth who are homeless and enrolled in the HCPSS.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The Superintendent will ensure that the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act are followed.

  2. Pupil Personnel Workers, in collaboration with the Homeless Education Liaison, will identify all school-aged children and youth who are homeless in Howard County, including those who have self-identified.

  3. Principals will ensure the immediate enrollment of students who have been identified as homeless.

  4. Principals, in collaboration with the Homeless Education Liaison, will ensure that students who are homeless are provided with comparable services offered to other students.

  5. The Homeless Education Liaison and the Title I Coordinator will ensure that all children and youth who are homeless receive services comparable to Title I services and supports and that the local Title I plan describes the services and supports provided.

  6. The Director of Transportation, in collaboration with the Homeless Education Liaison, will coordinate the transportation of students who are homeless attending Howard County public schools.

  7. The Executive Director of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being will designate the Homeless Education Liaison.

  8. The Director of Food and Nutrition, in collaboration with the Homeless Education Liaison, will immediately coordinate the food and nutrition services as soon as the homeless student is enrolled.

  9. The Homeless Education Liaison will ensure that the dispute resolution process is used to resolve all disputes regarding enrollment, school selections, and services for students who are homeless.

  10. The Homeless Education Liaison will ensure that information is provided annually to school-based staff regarding the McKinney-Vento Act and the unique needs of students who are homeless.

  11. The Homeless Education Liaison will chair the Homeless Advisory Committee.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop appropriate procedures to implement this policy.

VII. References

  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, Reauthorization 2015 (Reauthorized in 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act)

  • COMAR 13.A.05.09

  • Family Law Article 5-507

C. Relevant Data Sources

D. Other

  • Caregiver’s Authorization Form for Students in Temporary Housing/Unaccompanied Youth

  • Certification Statement for Homeless Children Automatic Eligibility for Free Meal Benefits

  • Dispute Resolution Process for Students in Temporary Housing - Form 1

  • Dispute Resolution Process for Students in Temporary Housing, Request for Due Process – Form 2

  • Know Your Rights brochure

  • Parental Release of Information Form

  • Request for Services from Community Resources Form

  • Student in Temporary Housing (SITH) Form

  • Student in Temporary Housing Transportation Request Form

VIII. History

ADOPTED: June 9, 2011

MODIFIED: October 2, 2018

EFFECTIVE: October 2, 2018