Decatur Public Schools works to ensure that homeless children and youth are afforded the same educational opportunities to be successful learners as all other children and youth, as is required by Illinois state law and the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Homeless children and youth are identified by school personnel and through coordination of activities with other entities, such as homeless shelters and community service agencies.
Who can be identified as homeless?
- Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence
- Children and youth sharing housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason not by choice
- Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations
- Children and youth abandoned in hospitals
- Children and youth whose primary nighttime residence is not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations
- Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus/train stations, or similar settings
- Unaccompanied youth, meaning those not in the physical custody of a parent/guardian
- Runaways living in a runaway shelter, abandoned building, car, on the streets, or in other adequate housing
- Youth living with another family because they would have nowhere else to stay otherwise
- Children and youth denied housing by their families
What services are available for identified students?
- Free meals
- Immediate school enrollment
- Transportation if needed and/or qualify
- Early childhood programs
- Help obtaining and transfering records needed for registration
- School supplies
- Referrals for medical, dental, and other health services
- Clothing to meet school requirements
- Coordination between schools and agencies