School Enrollment can be frustrating to a new kinship caregiver. If a child is dropped off by a parent, and the caregiver lives outside the boundaries of the child’s school the new school may refuse to enroll the child in class unless the caregiver has legal custody or guardianship of the child. If you declare that the child is “homeless” the school has to enroll the child under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of No Child Left Behind. Thus, caregivers do not need to have legal guardianship or custody to enroll the child in school due to No Child Left Behind.
- The right to remain enrolled in the school of origin (the school in which a homeless child was last enrolled) “to the extent feasible” or in the new school where grandparents or other kinship caregivers may be located.
- Transportation to the school of origin “to the extent feasible.”
- Free school lunch (not reduced, but free!) granted immediately with a child being automatically eligible (no application is required).
- Immediate enrollment with the right to attend and participate fully in school classes and extra-curricular activities without the need for former school records, proof of guardianship, birth certificates, immunization records, medical records, or proof of residency (because requiring these may delay a homeless child’s immediate school enrollment).
- The right to enrollment in special education by an adult relative with whom the child is living.
- Waiver of school fees and provision of supplies related to school classes and extra-curricular programs.
- Title IA services in both Title I-A and non-title IA schools.
- Preschoolers have the same considerations in Head Start programs where available.
Each school district has a person designated as the liaison for homeless children with the charge to ensure that homeless children and youth are identified, enroll in, and have a full opportunity to succeed in schools and receive educational services for which they are eligible. Contact your school districts’ person over The No Child Left Behind Act or contact the State Office of Education 1-801-538-7975 to obtain the number of the person in your area. You may also contact Grandfamilies for assistance at 801-326-4409