Education and Homeless Children

According to the Indiana Department of Education, over 29,000 children in Indiana experience homelessness each year.  There are times when the juvenile court and/or juvenile probation officers have to coordinate resources with the schools to provide adequate education for the child.  Homeless children have specific education rights in Indiana.  An overview of the rights and statistics, and additional resources, is available here.

If a school corporation determines that a child is homeless and needs tutoring to perform adequately, the school must providing tutoring.  IC 20-50-2-3.  A homeless child generally means “a minor who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.  IC 20-50-1-1(a).  Pursuant to IC 20-50-1-1(b), this includes:

  1. A child who: (A) shares the housing of other persons due to the child’s loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; (B) lives in a motel, hotel, or campground due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; (C) lives in an emergency or transitional shelter; (D) is abandoned in a hospital not intended for general habitation; or (E) is awaiting foster care placement.
  2. A child who has 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;
  3. A child who lives in a car, a park, a public place, an abandoned building, a bus station, a train station, substandard housing, or a similar setting; and
  4. A child of a migratory worker who lives in circumstances similar to items 1-3.

The Indiana Department of Education has an office of coordinator for education of homeless children, as required by 42 U.S.C. 11431, et seq.  IC 20-50-1-2.  Each school corporation must appoint an employee to be the school corporation’s liaison for homeless children and the Department of Education must providing annual training for the liaisons.  IC 20-50-1-3 and IC 20-50-1-6.

For more information, see: the Campus Self-Assessment Guide for Education of Students in Homeless Situations

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