Enrollment of Students Who are Homeless:


Title X, Part C of the No Child Left Behind Act defines homelessness as living in the following places due to a lack of a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

  • In an emergency or transitional shelter
  • In a motel, hotel or campground
  • In a car, park, public place, bus or train station, or abandoned building
  • Doubled up with relatives or friends
  • In the above conditions and is a migratory child or youth

This definition of homelessness applies to children and youth with:

  • Uncertain housing
  • A temporary address
  • No permanent physical address

Children and youth living in these settings meet the criteria for the McKinney-Vento definition of homelessness and have special educational rights.

Where can a child or youth without a fixed, regular, and adequate residence attend school?

  • The school the child or youth attended before becoming homeless or was last enrolled (school of origin)
  • The school in the attendance area where the child or youth is currently living

How can delays be avoided when enrolling a student experiencing homelessness in school?

  • Enroll the student immediately
  • Contact the previous school and ask that the records be sent electronically or shared over the phone
  • Contact the principal, school counselor, or local homeless education liaison with any concerns
  • Contact the local homeless education liaison to support unaccompanied youth when enrolling in school


For more information on enrollment and services for students experiencing homelessness, contact our local homeless education liaison,

Julie Pond, School Social Worker

(804)524-3445, julie_pond@colonialhts.net



Enrollment of Students in Foster Care

For children and youth in foster care, a change in home placement frequently results in a change in school placement. The educational impact of every school change is significant. Each time students enter new schools, they must adjust to different curricula, different expectations, new friends, and new teachers. Keeping children in the same school:
  • provides continuity in education;
  • maintains important relationships at school;
  • provides stability during a traumatic time for the children; and
  • improves educational and life outcomes.
Virginia revised its joint guidance in 2017 (linked below) to implement the provisions of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Fostering Connections) and the Title I, Part A provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) to ensure school stability for students in foster care.
Both acts mandate educational stability for children in out-of-home care and require child welfare agencies (i.e., department of social services, licensed child-placing agencies, etc.) to coordinate with local educational agencies (school divisions) to ensure educational stability for every child in foster care.
For more information on enrollment, contact our local foster care liaison,

Christy George, Director of Support Services