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Federal Programs  
  Erica Chaastain
Erica Chastain
Fed. Programs Director
706-896-4131 EXT:1134
Homeless Education

The Towns County School System adheres to the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvement Act of 2001 to ensure that all children and youth receive a free appropriate public education and are given meaningful opportunities to succeed in our schools.

* Children and youth experiencing homelessness means children and youth who are otherwise legally entitled to or eligible for a free public education, including preschool, and lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including 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, camping grounds or trailer parks due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations;

* are living in emergency or transitional shelters;

* are abandoned in hospitals;

* are awaiting foster care placement;

* have a primary nighttime residence that is a private or public place not designed for or ordinarily used as a  regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;

* are living in a car, park, public space, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station, or similar setting;  and

* are migratory and living in a situation described above.

* A child or youth shall be considered to be experiencing homelessness for as long as he or she is in a living situation described above and to the end of the school year in which the student moves into permanent housing.

* Unaccompanied youth means a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, who is experiencing homelessness as defined above. The more general term youth also includes unaccompanied youth.

* 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.

* Liaison is the staff person designated by a Local Education Agency (LEA) as the person responsible for carrying out the duties assigned to the liaison by the McKinney¬-Vento Act.

* Immediate means without delay.
In collaboration with school personnel and community organizations, the liaison or designee will identify children and youth experiencing homelessness in the district, both in and out of school, and maintain access to data regarding homeless students. The liaison or designee will train school personnel on possible indicators of homelessness, sensitivity in identifying families and youth as experiencing homelessness, and procedures for forwarding information indicating homelessness to the liaison. The liaison will also instruct school registrars and secretaries to offer homeless education information upon the enrollment and withdrawal of every student, and to forward information indicating homelessness to the liaison.
School Selection
Each child and youth experiencing homelessness has the right to remain at his or her school of origin, or to attend the appropriate school that serves students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living. Therefore, in selecting a school, children and youth experiencing homelessness shall remain at their schools of origin to the extent feasible, unless that is against the parent's or youth's wishes. Students may remain at their schools of origin the entire time they are experiencing homelessness, and until the end of any academic year in which they become permanently housed. The same applies if a child or youth loses his or her housing between academic years.
Consistent, uninterrupted education is vital for academic achievement. Due to the realities of homelessness and mobility, students experiencing homelessness may not have school enrollment documents readily available. Nonetheless, the school selected for enrollment must immediately enroll any child or youth experiencing homelessness. Enrollment may not be denied or delayed due to the lack of any document normally required for enrollment. Unaccompanied youth must also be immediately enrolled in school. They may either enroll themselves or be enrolled by a parent, non-parent caretaker, older sibling or the LEA liaison. If complete records are not available, IEP teams or other committees or school officials, as appropriate, must use good judgment in choosing the best course of action, balancing procedural requirements and the provision of services. In all cases, the goal will be to avoid any disruption in appropriate services.
Transportation shall be provided to and from the school of origin for a child or youth experiencing homelessness. Transportation shall be provided for the entire time the child or youth has a right to attend that school, as defined above, including during pending disputes. Parents and unaccompanied youth must be informed of this right to transportation before they select a school for attendance. In addition to receiving transportation to and from the school of origin upon request, children and youth experiencing homelessness shall also be provided with other transportation services comparable to those offered to housed students.
Children and youth experiencing homelessness shall be provided services comparable to services offered to other students in the school selected. School personnel must also inform parents of all educational and related opportunities available to their children and provide parents with meaningful opportunities to participate in their children's education. All parent information required by any provision of this policy must be provided in a form, manner and language understandable to each parent.