U.S. DOE Guidance on Homeless
Children and Youths
On July 27, the U.S. Department of Education (US DOE) released guidance to states and school districts addressing provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on homeless youth. Included is new Non-Regulatory Guidance which replaces the previous guidance from July 2004, a new Dear Colleague Letter, and a Fact Sheet.
Homeless Student Guidance Fact Sheet (In the future, US DOE plans to release additional fact sheet for teachers, principals, counselors and other school staff.)
The US DOE is providing this guidance to assist with the ESSA's amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act -- changes that take effect October 1, 2016. Nelson Mullins has reviewed this information and is providing you with this legal update to assist you in your compliance.
The new requirements focus on:
- Identification of homeless children and youths (including a change to the definition of homeless);
- Making sure that preschool-aged homeless children have access to and receive supportive services;
- Ensuring coordination with other service providers, including public and private child welfare and social service agencies; law enforcement agencies; juvenile and family courts; agencies providing mental health services; domestic violence agencies; child care providers; runaway and homeless youth centers; providers of services and programs funded under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act; and providers of emergency, transitional, and permanent housing, including public housing agencies, shelter operators, and operators of transitional housing facilities;
- Providing professional development and technical assistance at both the State and local levels;
- Removing enrollment barriers;
- Providing school stability, including the expansion of school of origin to include preschools and receiving schools and the provision of transportation until the end of the school year, even if a student becomes permanently housed;
- Protecting privacy of student records, including information about a homeless child or youth's living situation;
- Improving the dispute resolution process for decisions relating to the educational placement of homeless children and youth;
- Increasing the emphasis on college and career readiness; and
- Establishing a new authority for local liaisons to verify the eligibility of homeless children, youths, and families for HUD homeless assistance programs.
If you have any questions or if Nelson Mullins can assist you with compliance in these areas, please let us know.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.