A homeless student is any student having no permanent, regular and adequate nighttime residence. Homelessness can result from any combination of circumstances, including a lack of affordable housing, divorce, domestic violence, illness or injury, job loss, lack of child support or natural disaster.
Approximately one in every 24 students attending DC public schools and public charter schools is identified as homeless. Every public local education agency (LEA) must designate a contact for children and youth experiencing homelessness to offer appropriate services to the child and his or her family.
Children and youth in foster care placements are wards of the state, so they are not considered homeless. Temporary or short-term foster care placements may be considered homeless.
Schools must immediately enroll children and youth in homeless situations, even when records normally required for enrollment are not available. OSSE and LEAs must adopt policies and practices to ensure that students are not segregated or stigmatized on the basis of their status as homeless.
All identified homeless children and youth enrolled in public schools will participate in regular assessments. Each LEA will be responsible for disaggregating test scores of children and youth identified as homeless. LEAs report the percentage of students scoring proficient on state assessments annually.
OSSE oversees the Homeless Children and Youth Program, which ensures free and appropriate public educational opportunities for all homeless children and youth, provides technical assistance to schools, shelters and the community and raises local awareness about homeless children. The program provides transportation assistance, dispute resolution, emergency school enrollment assistance and more.