Questions and Answers on Special Education and Homeless Children’s Rights (FAQs + Brochure)
Authored By: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (Hammond Office)
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on Special Education and Homeless Children’s Rights
Where can I get help with my child’s special education needs? +
What do I do if my child has learning problems or other special needs in school? +
Ask the school to do a pupil appraisal or evaluation. Students who have academic, behavioral, communication, or other problems that make it hard for them to learn, have the right to special services.
What are my rights as the parent of a child in special education? +
You have these basic rights:
- To participate in every decision related to the identification, evaluation, discipline, and placement of your child.
- To give consent for any evaluation, assessment, or placement.
- To be notified of any change in placement.
- To confidentiality of information.
- To challenge or appeal decisions.
Are special education rights different if we are homeless, or if we become homeless after my child starts getting special education services? +
Are my children considered "homeless"? +
Children are homeless when they don’t have a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. Examples:
- Living in another person’s home due to loss of housing or income.
- In a motel, hotel, trailer park, or camping ground.
- Staying in an emergency or transitional shelter.
- Children abandoned in hospitals.
- Children waiting for foster care placement.
- Children living in places not meant as residences, like cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations.
- Migratory children.
Up to what age can my child get homeless services from the school? +
All homeless children can get homeless services up to age 18. Special education students can get services until age 22.
If my child becomes homeless, can he stay in the same school? +
Yes. This school is called the “school of origin” which means the school that your child attended before becoming homeless. Unless you agree to move your child, the school of origin is required to try and keep your child in the school of origin. A public school can’t deny enrollment to any child for the reason that the child has no permanent address.
Does the school provide transportation for a homeless child or child receiving special education? +
Yes. The school will provide transportation for a child receiving special education. The school will also provide transportation for a homeless child even if the child lives outside of the school district.
Can my child leave her school of origin and transfer to a new school in the area where she is now living? +
Yes. Public schools are required to immediately enroll a homeless child, even if the transfer would be out of the school of origin’s district. However, the school may later dispute the enrollment to try to move your child.
What happens if the school disputes the school selection or enrollment (tries to move my homeless child out of a school, or refuses to let her enroll)? +
The law says that:
- The local homeless liaison (or “McKinney –Vento” Liaison) decides the dispute between you and the school.
- The child must be allowed to attend the school until a decision is made.
- You must be given a written explanation of the decision, including how to appeal.