Education of Homeless Children
The Board of Education will admit and enroll homeless children in accordance with Federal and State laws and New Jersey Administrative Code. The Board of Education adopts this Policy to be in compliance with law and administrative code to ensure the enrollment of homeless children in school and to respond to appeals made by parents or other parties related to the enrollment of homeless children.
The Board of Education shall determine that a child is homeless when he or she resides in a publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations, including: hotels or motels; congregate shelters, including domestic violence and runaway shelters; transitional housing; and homes for adolescent mothers. A child is also determined homeless when he or she resides in a public or private place not designated for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation, including: cars or other vehicles including mobile homes; tents or other temporary shelters; parks; abandoned buildings; bus or train stations; temporary shelters provided to migrant workers and their children on farm sites; and the residence of relatives or friends where the homeless child resides out of necessity because his or her family lacks a regular or permanent residence of its own. A child is also determined homeless when he or she resides in substandard housing.
The school district of residence for a homeless child is responsible for the education of the child and shall assume all responsibilities as required in N.J.A.C. 6A:17-2.3. The school district of residence for a homeless child means the school district in which the parent of a homeless child resided prior to becoming homeless.
The school district liaison designated by the Superintendent of Schools for the education of homeless children is the Supervisor of Support Services. The liaison will facilitate communication and cooperation between the school district of residence and the school district where the homeless child resides and shall assume all responsibilities as outlined in N.J.A.C. 6A:17-2.4(a).
When a homeless child resides in a school district, the school district liaison shall notify the liaison of the school district of residence within twenty-four hours of receiving notification from the parent, the Department of Human Services or the Department of Children and Families, a shelter director, an involved agency, or a case manager. Upon notification of the need for enrollment of a homeless child, the liaison in the school district of residence shall coordinate enrollment procedures immediately based upon the best interest of the child pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:17-2.5(b).
The Superintendent of the school district of residence or designee shall decide in which school district the homeless child shall be enrolled in accordance with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 6A:17-2.5.
Unless parental rights have been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction, the parent retains all rights under N.J.A.C. 6A:17-2.1 et seq.
When a dispute occurs regarding the determination of homelessness or the determination of the school district of enrollment made by the school district of residence, the Superintendent(s) or the designee(s) of the involved district(s) or the child’s parent(s) shall immediately notify the Executive County Superintendent of Schools, who, in consultation with the Department of Education’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Coordinator or designee, shall immediately decide the child’s status. If a dispute remains between the parent and the involved school district(s) following the Executive County Superintendent’s determination, the parent or the involved district Board(s) of Education may appeal to the Commissioner of Education for determination pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:3, Controversies and Disputes.
When a school district designated as the school district of residence disputes its designation as the school district of residence, or where no designation can be agreed upon by the involved school districts, the Superintendent(s) or designee(s) of the involved school districts shall immediately notify the Executive County Superintendent of Schools, who shall immediately make a determination, if possible, but no later than within forty-eight hours.
If the dispute regarding determination of district of residence does not involve the determination of homelessness and/or district enrollment, the school district disputing the Executive County Superintendent’s determination may appeal to the Department of Education pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-19.2(d), (e), and (f) and
request a determination from the Division of Administration and Finance. If an appeal of a determination of district of residence also includes an appeal of the determination of homelessness and/or school district of enrollment, the appeal shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Education pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:3, Controversies and Disputes.
Any dispute or appeal shall not delay the homeless child’s immediate enrollment or continued enrollment in the school district. The homeless child shall be enrolled in the school district in which enrollment or continued enrollment is sought by the parent, pending resolution of the dispute or appeal. Disputes and appeals involving the services provided to a homeless child with a disability shall be made pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:14.
Financial responsibility, including the payment of tuition for the homeless child, will be in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:17-2.8. The school district of residence shall list the child on its annual Application for State School Aid (ASSA) pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:7F-33 until the parent establishes a permanent residence or is deemed domiciled in another jurisdiction pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:38-1.d. At that time, the school district of residence shall no longer list the student on its ASSA. The State shall assume fiscal responsibility for the tuition of the child pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:7B-12.1 and shall pay the tuition to the school district in which the child is currently enrolled until the parent establishes a permanent residence or is deemed domiciled in another jurisdiction pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:38-1.d. under the circumstances outlined in N.J.A.C. 6A:17-2.8(c).
On or before December 31 of each year, the district shall report to the Office of Homelessness Prevention in the Department of Community Affairs an accounting of each instance in which the district is made aware that a student enrolled in the district because the student’s parent moved to the district as a result of being homeless.
N.J.S.A. 18A:7B-12; 18A:7B-12.1; 18A:38-1
N.J.A.C. 6A:17-2.1 et seq.
Revised: 28 February 2022
Revised: 30 March 2017
Adopted: 26 July 2005