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Tales from the Field: When Students Obtain Permanent Housing

The Tale: 

A family with three children who had been designated as McKinney-Vento due to their homelessness have now found permanent housing in another district a few towns over from their school of origin. Since the students are in the 3rd, 5th, and 9th grades and are doing well in their current school, the parents wish for them to remain for the rest of the school year. The district liaison called the TEACHS Helpline to discuss the best interest determination and what the next steps are for children once they are no longer designated as homeless. The liaison asked if there was any paperwork to file to close the case.

 

Questions to ask:

  1. What are the ramifications for students' McKinney-Vento status when they move into permanent housing?

  2. Do students who move into permanent housing outside the district have to transfer and leave their school of origin?

  3. What are the next steps for the liaison to take when students obtain permanent housing?

  4. What paperwork needs to be completed?


  1. What are the ramifications for students' McKinney-Vento status when they move into permanent housing?

The district liaison will review the school selection options with parents for the rest of the school year. The students may remain in the school district of origin, or they may transfer to the new school district of residence. Whichever district they choose, the students remain eligible for McKinney-Vento benefits and services until the end of the school year. Liaisons should have facts and information available to have a best-interest discussion with the family. There are some important factors to consider when making this decision. Those factors may include the following: the time of year (is it more than halfway through the school year), the need for special education services, the availability of special classes (special education classes are sometimes full) and the length of time spent in transportation each way should be discussed.

 

Also, if it is the terminal grade for any of the students, they would be eligible to remain enrolled in the school of origin for one additional academic year and would retain their McKinney-Vento benefits and services. Note that in a sibling group, one or more of the students may be in their terminal grade, in which case the liaison should discuss with the family that the children can remain together if they opt to transfer to their new school of residence, however, the non-terminal grade student would not be able to remain in the school of origin, so siblings would then need to be split up. In some cases, splitting siblings is in their best interest especially when special class placements are involved.

 

Here are some sample “best interest” questions: 

 

  • How connected is the student to the current school? 

  • What are the academic needs of the child? 

  • How do the programs at the local school compare with the programs at the school located within the district of origin? 

  • How would the length of commute to and from the school district of origin impact the child? 

 

Here is a brief from NCHE entitled Best Practices in Homeless Education Brief Series Guiding the Discussion on School Selection Guiding the Discussion on School Selection  


2. Do students who move into permanent housing outside the district have to transfer and leave their school of origin?

3. What are the next steps for the liaison to take when students obtain permanent housing? 

4. What paperwork needs to be completed? 


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