By law, all public schools in Iowa are to make reasonable efforts to identify homeless children and youth and encourage their enrollment in school. Additionally, each school district is required to eliminate existing barriers in policies and procedures and ensure that homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free public education, as provided to other children and youth.
A homeless child or youth is defined as a child or youth from the age of 3 years through 21 years who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes the following:
- A child or youth is sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; is living in a motel, hotel, trailer park, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations; is living in an emergency or transitional shelter; is abandoned in a hospital; or awaiting foster care placement;
- A child or youth 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;
- A child or youth who is living in a car, park, public space abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station, or similar setting; or
- A migratory child or youth who qualifies as homeless because the child or youth is living in circumstances described in paragraphs “1” through “3” above. So that enrollment of homeless children and youth of school age may be facilitated, the following policy areas shall be modified as follows:
The designed coordinator for identification of homeless children and for tracking and monitoring programs and activities for these children is Eric Neessen, Director of Student Services. Please contact him at 981-0676 if you know of any students in this situation or have questions.
For more information on homeless legislation, please refer to the Iowa Department of Education’s webpage about homelessness.