Homeless children and youths means individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, and includes:
- Children and youths who are:
- Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
- Living in emergency, transitional or domestic violence shelters; or
- Abandoned in hospitals.
- 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;
- Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations or similar settings;
- Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above; and
- School-aged parents living in houses for school-aged parents if they have no other available living accommodations.
School of origin is the school the child or youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled, including preschool. When the child or youth completes the final grade level served by the school of origin, the school of origin shall include the designated receiving school at the next grade level for all feeder schools.
A school staff member and the parent/guardian complete the Homeless Student Intake Form.
Best Interest Determination
In determining the best interest of a child or youth, the district shall:
- Presume that keeping the child or youth in the school of origin is in the child's or youth's best interest, except when doing so is contrary to the request of the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth.
- Consider student-centered factors related to impact of mobility on achievement, education, health and safety, giving priority to the request of the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth.
- If, after such consideration, the district determines that it is not in the child's or youth's best interest to attend the school of origin or the school requested by the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth, the district shall provide the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth with a written explanation of the reasons for its determination. The explanation shall be in a manner and form understandable to the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth and shall include information regarding the right to appeal.
The selected school shall immediately enroll the student and begin instruction, even if:
- The student is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment.
- The application or enrollment deadline has passed during any period of homelessness.
In accordance with the child's or youth's best interest, the district shall continue to enroll a homeless student in his/her school of origin while s/he remains homeless and through the end of the academic year in which s/he obtains permanent housing. Parents/Guardians of a homeless student may request enrollment in the school in the attendance area where the student is actually living. The district's liaison shall assist an unaccompanied youth in placement or enrollment decisions, giving priority to the views of the student in determining where s/he will be enrolled. The district shall provide the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth with a written explanation of any district decision related to school selection or placement, including the right to appeal.
In a situation where the placement is declined by the District, the parent/guardian will recieve the Procedural Safeguards Notice of Denial of Enrollment.
If a dispute arises over eligibility, enrollment, or school selection:
- The parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth shall be referred to the district's liaison, who shall assist in the dispute resolution process.
- The student shall be immediately enrolled in the school in which enrollment is sought, pending final resolution of the dispute, including all available appeals.
- The district's liaison shall issue a written decision of the dispute within twenty (20) business days of being notified of the dispute.
A parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth may appeal a district's written decision or file the Enrollment Complaint with the Coordinator of Pennsylvania's Department of Education State Coordinator's for Homeless Children Initiative.