Children classified as “homeless” in the Harrisonburg City Public School system of Virginia are given every opportunity to continue their educations without interruption, with all necessary assistance, and without pejorative labels that might make them feel self-conscious.
What Constitutes Homelessness?
Children need not literally be living on the street to be considered homeless. According to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act as outlined by the Harrisonburg City Public School brochure, “students are considered homeless if they lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.” This definition might include those who are living with friends or relatives due to economic hardship; residing in homeless motels, hotels or trailer parks; living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, camp grounds, cars or public transportation stations; or even foster children awaiting placement.
Harrisonburg City Public School (HCPS) Homeless Liaisons for Student & Family Assistance
The Harrisonburg City Public School (HCPS) Homeless Liaisons are experts in helping parents and/or children during these stressful times. Among their duties include obtaining necessary previous school records, obtaining required immunization and medical records, seeking and enrolling students in additional services such as Free Meals, special education, gifted programs, or tutoring and even arranging for school supplies. HCPS Homeless Liaisons also arrange for any government programs or support that the children and/or their families may be eligible for. Lastly, HCPS Homeless Liaisons work between schools and parents to help in determining which specific school might be in a child’s best interests should there be a dispute in this matter.
HCPS Homeless Liaison Contact Information
Supervisor of Student Support Services
Virginia State Department of Education
College of William & Mary
School of Education
PO Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187
Where Will My Child Attend School?
Parents have the right to determine whether their child should stay in their original school or attend a school that serves their new home location. This is true even if your old home and their previous school were outside of the Harrisonburg City Public School system. In fact, if the decision is made that your child will best be served in his or her old school, transportation to and from their old school and new home will be arranged within four school days.
The HCPS Homeless Liaison helps to have everyone keep into account any special needs of the child, how long they were at their old school, how long their attendance at their new school will be, as well as the transportation time between your child’s school and new home.
Register your child as soon as possible by completing a registration package available at any Harrisonburg City School. The following documents will need to accompany your completed registration: previous school records, birth certificate, immunization records, and guardianship records. If you have any difficulty in locating these records or understanding how to complete the required application, please call the HCPS Homeless Liaison at 540-434-2752.
Homeless Children in Harrisonburg City Public School: Responsibilities, Rights, Resources informational brochure. Harrisonburg City Public Schools, undated.