For homeless families

  • Petersburg City Public Schools serves families in transition or who are homeless in a variety of ways. Services and supports are provided to homeless children and youth as described in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which is federal legislation that ensures educational rights and protection for youth and children experiencing homelessness. Tina Smith is the school system’s homeless education liaison and can be reached at 804-862-7044 or tismith@petersburg.k12.va.us.

    What families experiencing homeless need to know

    • Parents/guardians do not need a permanent address to enroll a child in school.
    • Homeless children and youth have a right to enroll immediately in school, even if they do not have required documents such as school records, records of immunization and other required health records, proof of residency, guardianship or other documents.
    • Students have the right to enroll in either the school of origin (the school the child or youth attended before becoming homeless or was last enrolled) or the school in the attendance zone where the child is currently living, whichever circumstance proves to be in the child’s best interest.
    • A child has the right to transportation services to and from the school of origin if returning to the home school is found to be in the chiild's best interest.
    • A child has the right to participate in extracurricular activities and all federal, state or local programs for which he or she is eligible.
    • Unaccompanied homeless youth have these same rights and can be assisted by the homeless education liaison or their designee. 

    Who is considered homeless?

    According to federal legislation, any child who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence is considered homeless. Children qualify if they are

    • sharing housing with others because of loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
    • living in hotels, motels, trailer parks, camping grounds because of lack of adequate alternative accommodations
    • living in emergency or transitional shelters
    • abandoned in hospitals/unaccompanied youth
    • awaiting foster care placement
    • living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live
    • living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations or
    • migratory children

    Additionally, students residing on their own or with someone who is not their parent or legal guardian because of being in a homeless situation are considered unaccompanied homeless youth.

    Services provided by Petersburg City Public Schools

    If a student is found eligible for services under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the school system can provide these services:

    • Transportation to a student’s school of origin is arranged through the Office of Pupil Personnel.
    • Students are automatically enrolled to receive free meals at school (breakfast and lunch) and do not need to complete paperwork.
    • School uniforms and school supplies
    • Referrals to local resources

    To determine the eligibility of a student and the entire household for McKinney-Vento services, parents or guardians should visit their local school and complete the appropriate paperwork. There are places on the form to document whether or not additional services as noted above are needed.
     

    Legal reference: McKinney-Vento Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.), Subtitle B of title VII.