Federal Law and Regulations

New Report on Homeless Youth

by Ernie Melcher

The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education have released a new report titled Surrogate Parents and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Each year, between 1.5 and 1.6 million youth run away from home or are forced out of their homes by their parents. While many of these youth return home quickly, others remain separated from their families and live in homeless situations. In the 2013-2014 school year, public school districts identified 88,966 “unaccompanied homeless youth,” defined as students living in homeless situations outside the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

Students experiencing homelessness are more likely than their housed peers to have disabilities that affect their learning. Studies indicate that children who are homeless are twice as likely to have learning disabilities and three times as likely to have an emotional disturbance as children who are not homeless.

This report provides information that will assist public agencies to

• Ensure that the rights of unaccompanied homeless youth are protected;

• Assign surrogate parents in a timely matter

• Avoid delays in evaluations and services

The full report is available at http://www.ode.state.or.us/teachlearn/conferencematerials/sped/2008/uhy-surrogate-parents-final%283%29.pdf

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