Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District recognizes that foster and homeless youth are our most vulnerable students, and as such they may require additional interventions and supports to ensure their academic and personal success.
For information regarding the District's Homeless and Foster Youth program, please contact:
Lisa Vargas Gardner
Every student in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District is ensured access to the same opportunities for academic achievement and supports, including children and youth in foster care. Foster youth have educational rights established through Assembly Bills 167, 216, and 490 to help eliminate barriers to education and ensure school stability. These rights are now part of California Education Code and are listed here. It is important for school staff to be fully aware of these rights as well as parent/guardians and foster youth themselves.
Who is a Foster Youth?
Foster youth are children with an open child dependency court case who are placed by and for whom the State agency has placement and care responsibility. This includes, but is not limited to, placements in foster family homes, foster homes of relatives, group homes, emergency shelters, residential facilities, childcare institutions, and pre-adoptive homes.
All children in foster care have a county caseworker. In Los Angeles County, the agency is the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Other counties have different agency names but provide the same services.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act ensures that homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free, appropriate educational programs as other children and youth. Federal and state law mandates the elimination of educational barriers facing homeless children and youth, to increase school stability and protect students from discrimination. Under this legislation, homeless children and youth are entitled to have access to the same educational experience and resources as all students by providing the following rights to students experiencing housing instability or homelessness:
- Immediate enrollment in school even if the required paperwork is not available (i.e. immunizations, proof of residency, school record).
- School selection to A) school of origin (if feasible) or B) the closest PVPUSD school to their current living situation.
- Assistance resolving any disputes that arise during the enrollment process.
- Immediate enrollment in the free lunch program.
- Assistance with AB1806 graduation requirements.
- Assistance with school records.
- Public transportation assistance to and from school (if feasible).
- Referrals to community agencies.
Who is Homeless?
California Ed Code 48851 requires that Districts administer a Housing Questionnaire to all parent/guardians or unaccompanied minors for purposes of identifying homeless children and youths and unaccompanied youths.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act defines homelessness as anyone who is:
- Lacking a regular, fixed and adequate nighttime residence:
- "Temporarily doubled up" with family or friends due to a loss of housing and economic hardship
- Living in a shelter, hotel, or motel
- Living in a public place not designated for sleeping (cars, parks, abandoned buildings)
- A child who is not in the physical custody of their parent or legal guardian
- A child or youth abandoned in a hospital
- A migrant child who qualifies under any of the above
Homeless Youth Resources
WIN is a free mobile and web app designed to connect homeless or resource insecure youth ages 12-25, as well as families, adults and seniors, to essential services- all accessible without a referral. Developed by Our Community LA with guidance from our region’s unaccompanied youth, WIN users can search a database of over 2000 essential service providers and connect to 12 categories of resources. Click here to open the web-based version of WIN
. It is also available for download in the app store on your iPhone or on Apple Play.
Findhelp.org - Search and connect to support. Financial assistance, food pantries, medical care, and other free or reduced-cost help can be found in your local community simply by entering your zip code.
Expanded Learning Opportunity Program (ELOP)
A new program, funded by a grant from the State of California, will be offered, at no cost, to our homeless, foster and free/reduced lunch elementary student population starting in January 2023. The Expanded Learning Opportunities Program will take place through Kids Corner and will be available after-school at each school site, five days per week from school dismissal until 6:30.
Please contact [email protected] for more information.