Homeless Education Program

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North Dakota Homeless Education Program
The North Dakota Homeless Education Program (NDHEP) within the office of Federal Title Programs publishes a bimonthly newsletter. This newsletter provides updates on McKinney-Vento and other homeless related content, district homeless requirements, homeless liaison information and training opportunities, available grant funding, and more.  

January Newsletter
Data Collection for Youth In Homelessness
Federal law is requiring states to report data for youth experiencing homelessness. Currently, districts collect and report data using two methods; STARS and PowerSchool. In PowerSchool, districts must ensure that the following data is being collected for homeless youth:
· Start date
· End date (end of school year)
· Reason for exit
· Comments

It is important to note that PowerSchool DOES NOT upload data into STARS. Therefore, it is the districts responsibility to enter data into STARS in order for accurate data collection of homeless youth. STARS data collection also includes the following reporting requirements:
· If the youth is unaccompanied or not
· If McKinney-Vento grant funds are being utilized
· Various supports and services
· Primary night time residences
The NDDPI will continue to provide technical assistance and guidance to help districts resolve issues of having two areas which individuals need to input data, however, this will take some time. 
Upcoming Webinar: Identifying Children and Youth Who are Experiencing Homelessness and Data Collection
January 23, 2017 3:00-4:00 PM CST.
Please go to nddpi.adobeconnect.com/r43jeiwyafi/ to access the webinar.
Get to Know NCHE
The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) operates the U.S. Department of Education’s technical assistance center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program.
For more information on NCHE, please see the se links:
· A comprehensive website: https://nche.ed.gov
· A toll-free helpline: 1-800-308-2145 or homeless@serve.org
· A listserv:  https://nche.ed.gov/listserv.php
· Products for ordering or downloading:
Data Collection for Youth In Foster Care
Under the new ESSA law, states and districts are required to collect and report data on youth in foster care. Currently, the only method used to collect data for youth in foster care is through identification using NDTeach and the Notification of Placement form (SFN 18119). Each district is given authority to see and/or receive this information. It is important for each district to determine a protocol to ensure your  foster care liaison also receives this Notification of Placement information. There are a couple of  ways in which this can be done:
· The individual/staff who currently has access to the Notification of Placement will route the information to the foster care liaison (hard copy).
· The foster care liaison can be added as a staff member in order to receive this information directly. 

It is up to each district to determine a protocol for sharing this information, however, it is a federal requirement to have a protocol in place.  

December Homeless Newsletter
Webinar: Ensuring Stability for Youth in Foster Care
On December 19, 2016, from 1:30-2:30 CST, the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) will be hosting a webinar for administrators and foster care liaisons regarding the ESSA law on Ensuring Stability for Youth in Foster Care. A memo will be forthcoming with instructions on how to register for the webinar. Critical information will be addressed regarding new ESSA regulations, district responsibilities, and the role of foster care liaisons. If you have questions, please contact Beth Larson-Steckler  or Patty Carmichael.
Identification of Youth in Foster Care
Several districts have contacted the NDDPI with questions on how to identify youth who are in foster care in their district. Child welfare personnel are to provide online notification through NDTeach by completing the School District Notification Form (SFN 18119). While this form has largely been a vehicle for financial contracts, it also provides information on all youth who are in the foster care system to districts of residence. It is important for foster care liaisons to be knowledgeable about this form, the process to follow to identify youth in foster care, and ensure appropriate services/supports are provided as outlined in Ensuring Stability for Youth in Foster Care. The district-identified foster care liaison must communicate with district administration to identify who, in the district, is currently receiving this form so information can be shared. In the future, the NDDPI plans to have foster care liaisons register to receive these notifications. The NDDPI is working on guidance to assist foster care liaisons in meeting the new regulations, once this guidance is complete, it will be disseminated to districts and foster care liaisons.
Process for Best Interest Determination
The best interest determination process includes the following steps:
· The child welfare agency notifies the child’s current school that the child will be moving to a new residence.
· The child welfare agency provides the necessary timeframe for determining the child’s appropriate school placement.
· The school provides the child welfare agency information on the appropriateness of the current educational setting.
· The child welfare agency takes into account this information and the distance from potential placements to the child’s current school in the decision making process.
· The child welfare agency and the child’s current school jointly determine the child’s best interest for school placement, in consultation with the child and other key partners.
· The best interest determination for school placement is completed as quickly as possible (e.g., within three business days) after the child welfare agency notifies the school of the child’s new residence.
· The child remains in the same school during that time, unless it is not in the child’s best interest.
· The child welfare agency arranges for transportation and payment of transportation expenses.

October Homeless Newsletter
New State Coordinator
On June 1, 2016, upon Jackie Harasym’s retirement, Beth Larson-Steckler assumed the role of State Homeless Coordinator. Beth has worked at North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) for over seven years in a variety of capacities. Prior to coming to the NDDPI, she worked closely with K-12 and Higher Education.  
Contact Information:
Beth Larson-Steckler
Phone: 701-328-3544
Phone: 701-328-2824
NAEHCY Conference October 29 - November 1, 2016 Orlando, Florida
The NAEHCY Conference brings together education, housing, and service sectors with a focus on children and youth from birth through college.

This year's conference will be history in the making: the first NAEHCY conference of the ESSA era! We’ll provide comprehensive, high quality professional development to prepare communities for the Every Student Succeeds Act, including McKinney-Vento and Title I Part A amendments, along with diverse content on early childhood education, higher education, housing partnerships, and access to services. We emphasize programs and practices that are replicable, so you return home with plenty of specific strategies to put into action. 

Defining Homelessness Further guidance from the National Center for Homeless Education outlines that there are two specific criteria used in determining students as homeless under McKinney-Vento. They are: 1) economic hardship, and 2) lack of alternative accommodations, those who have no other place of residenceIt is important to note that all situations should be independently reviewed. If the district’s intake form indicates that a youth may be homeless, the follow-up step is to complete a needs assessment with the family and child.

The non-regulatory guidance under McKinney Vento for defining students that are homeless who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence is below. The term includes — All children and youth who:
  • Are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as “doubled-up”); living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations; emergency or transitional shelters; or abandoned in hospitals;
  • Have 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;
  • Are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.           
 Key Provisions of Local Homeless Liaison
  •  Identification of youth who are homeless
  •  Assess needs of youth and family to identify supports/services that are tailored to the individual child  and family
  •  Provide professional development to all staff and other agencies on topics related to homelessness
  •  Enroll youth in school and assure they have full and equal opportunity to succeed
  •  Provide educational services for which they are eligible, including referrals to health and other  services
  •  Provide parents information of educational rights and opportunities to participate in the education of  their children
  •  Display and disseminate public notice of educational rights of youth who are homeless
  •  Mediate enrollment disputes
  •  Provide information to parents and guardians on transportation services, including transportation to  school of origin
  •  Work with administration and school personnel to ensure that policies and protocols are in place  which supports the education of youth who are homeless
  •  Collection and reporting of data