FILE:  JBCBB

Cf:  JBC

 

HOMELESS CHILDREN AND YOUTH

 

 

The Caldwell Parish School Board recognizes that homelessness alone should not be sufficient reason to separate students from the mainstream school environment. Therefore, the School Board, in accordance with state and federal law, shall give special attention to ensure that homeless children in the school district have access to a free and appropriate public education and to hopefully ensure that there are no barriers to the enrollment, transportation, attendance and success in school of homeless children and youth.

 

DEFINITION

 

Homeless children and youth means individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence and include the following:

 

 

ENROLLMENT/PLACEMENT

 

The best interest of the child, with parental involvement, shall be considered in determining whether the child should be enrolled in the school of origin or the school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the homeless child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.  To the extent feasible, and in accordance with the child or youth's best interest, the child or youth should continue his or her education in the school of origin.  If the youth is unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, the homeless coordinator shall consider the views of the youth in deciding where the youth shall be educated.  The choice regarding placement shall be made regardless of whether the child or youth lives with the homeless parents or has been temporarily placed elsewhere.

 

The school selected shall immediately enroll the homeless child or youth, even if the child or youth is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, immunization records, proof of residency or other documentation.  However, the district may require a parent or guardian of a homeless child or youth to submit contact information, such as medical emergency information, contact information regarding the parent, guardian, or caregiver.

 

The district shall provide a written explanation, including a statement regarding the right of appeal, to the homeless child or youth's parent or guardian, or to the homeless youth if unaccompanied, if the district sends the child or youth to a school other than the school of origin or other than a school requested by the parent or guardian.

 

If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment in a school, the child, youth, parent or guardian shall be referred to the district homeless coordinator, who will carry out the dispute resolution process as expeditiously as possible.

 

For the purposes of this policy, school of origin is defined as the school that the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the student was last enrolled.

 

Children in Foster Care

 

The School Board shall ensure that a student who is in foster care pursuant to placement through the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services shall be allowed to remain enrolled in the public school in which the child was enrolled at the time he/she entered foster care for the duration of the child’s stay in the custody of the state or until he/she completes the highest grade offered at the school if the Department of Children and Family Services determines that remaining in that school is in the best interest of the child.

 

If foster care placement is outside the jurisdictional boundaries of the public school in which the student is enrolled, the School Board shall be responsible for providing free transportation for the student to and from a designated location which is within that school district and is located nearest to the child’s residence and is determined to be appropriate by the Board and the Department of Children and Family Services.

 

SERVICES

 

Each homeless child or youth shall be provided services comparable to services offered to other students in the district including, but not limited to, transportation services; educational services for which the child meets the eligibility criteria, such as educational programs for disadvantaged students, students with disabilities and gifted and talented students; vocational programs and technical education; school nutrition programs; preschool programs; before- and after-school care programs; and programs for students with limited English proficiency.  Homeless students shall not be segregated in a separate school or in a separate program within a school based on the students' status as homeless.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

In the event that it is in the best interest of the homeless child or youth to attend the school of origin, transportation to and from that school shall be provided at the request of the parent or guardian or, in the case of an unaccompanied youth, the homeless coordinator.  If the student begins living in an area served by another School Board, both School Boards shall agree on a method to apportion the responsibility and costs for transporting the child to and from the school of origin. If an agreement cannot be reached, the costs will be shared equally.

 

RECORDS

 

Any records ordinarily kept by the school, including immunization records, academic records, birth certificates, guardianship records and evaluations for special services or programs of each homeless child or youth shall be maintained so that appropriate services may be given the student, so that necessary referrals can be made, and so that records may be transferred in a timely fashion when a homeless child or youth enters a new school district.  Copies of records shall be made available upon request to students or parents in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and School Board policy.

 

DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS

 

The No Child Left Behind Title X, Part C, McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act acknowledges that disputes may arise between the school district and homeless students/parents/guardians when the student is denied enrollment in school or is placed in a school other than the one requested by students/parents/guardians.  The purpose of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is to ensure that homeless students enroll in school immediately and continue their education with as little disruption as possible.  The Caldwell Parish School Board dispute resolution process follows the guidelines set forth in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and in accordance with the Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators, Bulletin 741, Section 341.  This Bulletin contains detailed procedures established for resolving complaints filed against the Department of Education or a local education agency pursuant to provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 20 USC 6301 et seq. (ESEA.)

 

The following process shall be used in a case where a dispute occurs regarding the education of a homeless child or youth:

 

  1. If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment, the child/youth must be immediately enrolled in the school in which he/she is seeking enrollment, pending the resolution of the dispute (five (5) days).  The dispute process may be initiated by the parent/guardian, unaccompanied youth, principal, or other school officials.

  2. The parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth must be referred to the Homeless Liaison, provided a written explanation of the school’s decision to deny enrollment or school selection and the rights of homeless parents/guardians/unaccompanied youth, including the right to appeal any school district decision.

  3. When the parent/guardian/unaccompanied youth is referred to the Homeless Liaison, the liaison will carry out the dispute resolution process within a reasonable amount of time.

  4. After reviewing pertinent information related to the dispute, the Homeless Liaison shall provide the parent with a decision in writing within five (5) days of the receipt of the written complaint.

  5. If the written resolution is not acceptable to the parent/guardian/ unaccompanied youth, the Homeless Liaison will forward the dispute to the State Homeless Coordinator.

 

Revised:  January, 2008                            

Revised:  March, 2009

Revised:  December, 2012

 

 

Ref:    42 USC 11431 et seq. (Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act)

34 CFR Part 200 (Title I - Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged)

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§17:81, 17:151.3, 17:221, 17:221.2, 17:222, 17:235.1, 17:238, 17:416

Plyler v. Doe, 457 US 202 (1982)

Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators, Bulletin 741, Louisiana Department of Education

Board minutes, 1-8-08, 1-13-09, 2-12-13

 

Caldwell Parish School Board