A homeless child is one who lacks a “fixed, regular and adequate nighttime place of abode” and
includes children and youths who fit at least one of the following
- Share the housing of other persons; i.e. ‘doubled-up or couch-surfing’ due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;
- Live in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
- Live in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;
- Have a primary nighttime residence not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings; i.e. in cars; parks; public spaces; abandoned buildings; substandard housing; or in bus or train stations.
- Migratory children qualify as homeless when living in circumstances described above
- This includes the “hidden homeless” - those who are constantly moving from one place to another and those who are one paycheck away from being on the streets.
The (federal) McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, as part of the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Illinois Education for Homeless Children Act ensures homeless children have a right to:
- A free, appropriate public education including a priority to preschool programs (includes waiver of required school fees that would be a participation barrier for homeless families)
- The choice of staying in the school of origin or attending the school nearest their shelter or temporary home
- In the case of unaccompanied youth, consideration is given to the youth’s wishes.
- Immediate enrollment even when medical records cannot be produced at the time of enrollment
- Assistance with transportation if needed
In Grundy-Kendall ROE 24, Christopher Mehochko, Regional Superintendent appoints a Homeless Liaison to provide public awareness and assist school district's homeless liaison to eliminate barriers that
may prevent homeless students from receiving immediate and full participation in educational
Local School Districts: ‘Homeless Liaison’:
- Every local educational agency (LEA) must designate an appropriate staff person as a liaison for students in homeless situations.
- Liaisons must ensure that students enroll in, and have full and equal opportunity to succeed in, the schools of the LEA (This includes unaccompanied youths.)
- Children and youth in homeless situations are identified by school personnel and through coordination activities with other entities and agencies.
For more information on the rights of homeless children, go to http://www.homelessyouth.org/illinois/handbook. This resource is appropriate for parents, guardians, adolescents, counselors, and school officials.
Contact: Rhonda Redgate, Homeless Liaison
Grundy/Kendall Regional Office of Education
109 W. Ridge St., Yorkville, IL 60560
Yorkville Office - 630-553-4110
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org