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501.16 Homeless Children and Youth

The board shall make reasonable efforts, such as posting information throughout the community and in school publications, to identify homeless children and youth of school age within the district, encourage their enrollment and eliminate existing barriers to their receiving education which may exist in district policies or practices.


A homeless child is defined as a child or youth between the ages of 3 and 21 who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence and includes the following:

  • A child who is sharing the housing of others (includes doubled-up families) due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; is living in a motel, hotel, or camping ground due to the lack of alternative accommodations; is living in an emergency or transitional shelter; is abandoned in a hospital, or is awaiting foster care placement;
  • A child who has 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;
  • A child who is living in a car, park, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station, or similar setting; or
  • A migratory child/youth who qualifies as homeless because of the living circumstances described above
    • Includes youth who have run away or youth being forced to leave home.


So that enrollment of homeless children and youth of school age may be facilitated, the following policy areas shall be modified as follows:


School Records: For students transferring out of the district, records may be provided directly to the student or the student’s parents. In addition, students transferring into the district may provide cumulative records directly to the district. The district shall not require that such records be forwarded from another district before that student may enroll. The school shall then request the official records from the sending school.


Immunization Requirements: Homeless students shall not be denied enrollment for lack of immunization records if:

  1. They have a statement signed by a physician stating that immunization would be injurious to the child;
  2. They provide an affidavit stating such immunization would conflict with their religious beliefs;
  3. They are in the process of being immunized; or
  4. They are a transfer student from another school.

The district shall make a reasonable effort to locate immunization records from the information provided or shall arrange for the student to receive immunization.


Waiver of Fees and Charges: Fees and charges which may present a barrier to the enrollment or transfer of a homeless child or youth may be waived in the discretion of the superintendent.


Enrollment Requirements/Placement: Enrollment requirements which may constitute a barrier to the education of the homeless child or youth may be waived in the discretion of the superintendent.  If the district is unable to determine the grade level of the student because of missing or incomplete records, the district shall administer tests or utilize other reasonable means to determine the appropriate grade level for the child.


Residency: For purposes of a homeless child or youth, residence for the purpose of attending school shall be where the child actually resides or the child’s district of origin. A child’s district of origin is the school district where the child was last enrolled. The deciding factor shall be the welfare of the child. As much as possible, the child will not be required to change attendance centers within the district every time the child changes residence unless that change results in the child no longer being classified as homeless.


Transportation: Policies or practices regarding transportation of students which might cause a barrier to the attendance of a homeless child or youth may be waived by the superintendent.


Special Services: All services which are available to resident students shall be made available to homeless children or youths enrolled in the district. Services include special education, talented and gifted programs, vocational education, English as a second language programs, health services and food and nutrition programs.


The contents of this policy shall supersede any and all conflicting provisions in district policies dealing with the seven policy areas discussed above.


Legal Reference:       

42 U.S.C. § 11431 et seq. (1988).

281 I.A.C. 33.


Approved   8/19/96       Reviewed 11/16/2015     Revised   11/16/2015