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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Homeless children (Sec. 300.19)

Comment: Several commenters requested adding the definition of homeless children in the regulations so that it is readily accessible to parents, advocates, and educators.

Discussion: The term homeless children is defined in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. For the reasons set forth earlier in this notice, we are not adding the definitions of other statutes to these regulations. However, we will include the current definition of homeless children in section 725 (42 U.S.C. 11434a) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq. (McKinney-Vento Act) here for reference.

The term homeless children and youths--

(A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within the meaning of section 103(a)(1)); and

(B) includes--

(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;

(ii) children and youths who 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 (within the meaning of section 103(a)(2)(C));

(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

(iv) migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter stated that regulations are needed to address school selection and enrollment provisions under the McKinney-Vento Act. Another commenter recommended that the regulations include the McKinney-Vento Act's requirement that school stability for homeless children be maintained during periods of residential mobility and that homeless children enrolled in new schools have the ability to immediately attend classes and participate in school activities.

Discussion: We appreciate the commenters' concerns, but do not believe it is necessary to duplicate the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Act in these regulations. We believe that these issues, as well as other issues regarding children with disabilities who are homeless, would be more appropriately addressed in non-regulatory guidance, in which more detailed information and guidance can be provided on how to implement the requirements of the Act and the McKinney-Vento Act to best meet the needs of homeless children with disabilities. We will work with the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education to provide guidance and disseminate information to special education teachers and administrators regarding their responsibilities for serving children with disabilities who are homeless.

Changes: None.