The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth (twenty-one years of age and younger) as
• Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and includes children and youth who are:
o Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as double-up);
o Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
o Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
o Abandoned in hospitals; or
o Awaiting foster care placement
• Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
• Children and youth 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.
If you are personally aware of or are acquainted with any children who may qualify according to the above criteria, the Vestaburg Community School District provides the following assurances to parents of homeless children.
• There shall be immediate enrollment and school participation, even if educational and medical records and proof of residency are not available.
• All educational opportunities and related opportunities for homeless students (preschool to age 21), including unaccompanied youth, shall be the same as for the general student population
• Enrollment and transportation rights, including transportation to the school of origin shall be possible. “School of Origin” is defined as the school the child attended when permanently housed or when last enrolled.
• Written explanation of why a homeless child is placed other than in a school of origin or school requested by the parent, with the right to appeal within the local disputed resolution process.
• Meaningful opportunities for parents to participate in the education of their children. These shall include: special notices of events, parent-teacher conferences, newsletters and access to student records.
Contact Matt Walderzak, homeless liaison for the Vestaburg Community School, for additional information about homeless issues. Mr. Walderzak can be reached at 989-268-5343.