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Homeless Education Program Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the definition of homeless children and youth?
  2. Can a homeless child enroll in school?
  3. Whom should be contacted if a dispute arises regarding enrolling a homeless child or youth in school or if other assistance is needed?
  4. What services are provided by the Homeless Children and Youth Program?

1. What is the definition of homeless children and youth?

The term “homeless child and youth” means:

  • Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence; and includes 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, trailer parks or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelter (including DC transitional housing); are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;
  • Children and youth who 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;
  • Children and youth 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
  • Unaccompanied youth, including youth who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, who qualify as homeless because they live in circumstances described above

2. Can a homeless child enroll in school?

Yes, the child may continue enrollment in the school of origin for the duration of homelessness. The school is the one the child attended prior to becoming homeless or the school in which the child was last enrolled. The child may also enroll in the school for the attendance area where he or she is living temporarily. If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment, the school must immediately enroll the homeless student in the school, pending resolution of the dispute. If the local school cannot resolve the dispute, the school must follow the Dispute Resolution Process, not to exceed fifteen (15) days. The local school must provide the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth with a written statement of the school placement decision and the appeal rights. 

3. Whom should be contacted if a dispute arises regarding enrolling a homeless child or youth in school or if other assistance is needed?

The Homeless Children and Youth Program has been designed to assist children and youth who are experiencing homelessness and their families regarding educational issues. If a homeless child or youth is experiencing difficulty in enrolling in school, please contact the Homeless Children and Youth Office at (202) 654-6123, to obtain referral information to the Local Lead Homeless Liaison for the relevant school or school district where the child/youth attends.

4. What services are provided by the Homeless Children and Youth Program?

The Homeless Children and Youth Program provides the following services: transportation assistance; dispute resolution; emergency school enrollment assistance; special projects; Homeless Awareness Month; staff development; and interagency collaboration.

Contact TTY: 
711