an education that engages students with culture & community

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act Policy

Adopted: 3/15/2017 

FACTS Charter School is dedicated to presenting our youth who may be experiencing homelessness with the same educational opportunities as those students with permanent residency. It is our duty to understand the criteria which will qualify students as homeless, identify these students in a timely manner and remove any barriers that may exist to provide them with a quality education.

The School Social Worker has been identified as the Homeless Liaison with the School District of Philadelphia’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Division (ECYEH). S/he will collaborate with the ECYEH, School Principal, School Nurse, Special Education Supervisor and the Director of School Culture and the Non-Instructional Coordinator to address any challenges any homeless student may encounter.

DEFINITION:

FACTS employs the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act definition when identifying students who may be homeless. The term, “homeless children and youth” shall mean:

(A) individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence…; and

(B) includes—

(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;

(ii) 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;

(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

(iv) migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).

Children and youth are considered homeless if they fit both part A and any one of the subparts of part B of the definition above.

IDENTIFICATION:

Students will have the opportunity to be identified as homeless throughout the course of the academic year with standard questions being asked at designated times, however, students may be identified via teachers and an open communication with the families we serve. Applicants will be asked residency information during the application process and there will be an opportunity for families to be identified during quarterly Report Card Conferences with a brief question regarding residency.

TRAINING:

All faculty and staff will be trained on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to aid in identification of students who may be experiencing residential difficulties and to understand how to refer a homeless student to school staff to ensure the student receives all appropriate educational services in a timely manner.

RIGHTS:

FACTS will assure that homeless students will not be denied immediate enrollment due to any requirements including: immunization records, medical records, residency, birth certificates, school records, guardianship, or uniform policy. The school will partner with the parent and guardian, while fully complying with their privacy rights, to attain documents or information necessary for the safety of the student and the student body as a whole (e.g. emergency contact information, immunization records). All homeless students will be advised of their rights including the rights to: immediate enrollment, remain in their existing school, transportation, access to educational services to which they are entitled, and free breakfast and lunch.

SERVICES:

Once a student has been identified as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act they will be referred to the School Social Worker, who in turn, will help identify what barriers may exist to the student that would impede the student having access to a quality education. The Social Worker/ Homeless Liaison will work with ECYEH to ensure the student benefits from programs designated to remove barriers to their education.

  • Students who are identified as homeless who have not procured a safe place to stay will be referred to the Social Worker who will provide connections with outside agencies as well as the ECYEH to aid in procuring safe, temporary, housing.
  • FACTS will work with the transportation provider to ensure an uneventful transition in alternate transportation i.e. an alternative school bus route. FACTS Charter School will also partner with ECYEH if warranted to ensure transportation is not a barrier to the student attending school on a regular basis.
  • The Social Worker will work closely with the educators to ensure the quality of the student’s work is not affected.
  • The Social Worker will offer the families the benefit of individual school counseling sessions on as needed basis to address the student’s mental, emotional, and developmental health is being sufficiently addressed.
  • The Social Worker will work closely with the School Nurse to ensure any health needs can be addressed in a timely manner and will contact outside agencies to coordinate procuring health care or outside mental health counseling if the need arises.