Norfolk Public Schools serves students in foster care, families in transition, or families who are homeless in a variety of ways. For students in foster care or who are in transition/homeless, NPS works closely with the familiy to ensure immediate enrollment and to discuss needs such as transportation, academic assistance, and health/mental health services. We work closely with neighboring school divisions, social services, and internal NPS departments to meet the needs of all students, regardless of circumstance.
*Services and supports are provided to homeless children and youth pursuant to the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which is federal legislation that ensures educational rights and protection for youth and children experiencing homelessness.
Contact Information: Ta-Tanisha Walton, Homeless/Foster Care Liaison (757) 628-3944
Who is considered homeless?
According to federal legislation, any child who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence is considered homeless. Children qualify if they are:
- - sharing housing with others due to loss of housing, economic hardship or another similar reason;
- - living in hotels, motels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations;
- - living in emergency or transitional shelters;
- - abandoned in hospitals/unaccompanied youth;
- - living in a public/private place not designed for humans to live;
- - living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations; or
- - are migratory children.
Additionally, students residing on their own or with someone who is not their parent or legal guardian due to being in a homeless situation are considered Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.
Services provided by NPS
If a student is found eligible for services under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, NPS can provide the following services:
- - Transportation: Transportation services to a student’s school of origin are arranged for by the Office of Early Learning/Title I.
- - Free Meals: Students are automatically enrolled to receive free meals (breakfast and lunch).
- - Clothing and School Supplies: NPS works with community partners to provide emergency clothing and/or school supplies if needed.
- - Referrals to local resources
To determine the eligibility of a student and the entire household for McKinney-Vento services, parents/guardians should visit their local school and complete the appropriate paperwork.
What families experiencing homeless need to know
Parents/guardians do not need a permanent address to enroll a child in school.
Homeless children and youth have a right to enroll immediately in school, even if they do not have required documents, such as school records, records of immunization and other required health records, proof of residency, guardianship, or other documents.
Students have the right to enroll in either the school of origin (school the child or youth attended before becoming homeless or was last enrolled) or the school in the attendance zone where the child is currently living, whichever circumstance proves to be in the child’s best interest.
A child has the right to transportation services to and from the school of origin if returning to their home school is found to be in their best interest.
A child has the right to participate in extracurricular activities and all federal, state, or local programs for which he/she is eligible.
Unaccompanied homeless youth have these same rights and can be assisted by the Homeless Education Liaison or their designee.