The purpose of the Tennessee Homeless Education Program is to develop educational programs that meet the unique needs of homeless children and youth. Because homeless children face many obstacles to an appropriate education, such as lack of transportation and resources, frequent school changes, loss of school records, and emotional stress, special programs are necessary. The Homeless Education Program is designed to facilitate the enrollment, attendance, and success of homeless children and youth in Tennessee schools. All school districts in Tennessee are required to provide needed services to homeless children. The department receives funding for the program through the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Grant Program. The department distributes grants competitively to local education agencies (LEAs) that have developed programs that document effective collaboration among school districts and service providers to ensure that homeless children in that district receive needed services.
Under Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, § 725, homeless children and youths mean individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes:
- 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, or are abandoned in hospitals;
- children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
- children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
- migratory children (as defined in § 1309 of the ESSA) who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described in this definition.
Your eligible children have the right to:
- Receive a free, appropriate public education;
- Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment;
- Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents;
- Enroll in the local school; or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is your preference and is feasible;
- Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if you request this; and,
- Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to your children's needs.
Clinton City Schools identifies homeless students and refers them to the Homeless Coordinator. Services are arranged for these students as needed including transportation.
If you need further assistance with your children's education needs, contact the National Center for Homeless Education: 1-800-308-2145, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or online at www.serve.org/nche,
For more information contact:
212 N. Hicks Street
Clinton, TN 37716