national center for homeless education | nche

Special Education

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NCHE Resources

Homeless and Special Education Administrative Collaboration: Recommendations
This proceedings document, originating from a policy forum hosted jointly by NCHE and Project Forum, introduces the reader to the unique challenges that administrators face as they support the implementation of services for homeless children with disabilities. The document presents findings from an online forum in the areas of policy, practice, and recommendations for change. Recommendations focus on the areas of expediting enrollment and the provision of services, and coordinating programs and services. The appendices contain additional information and sample forms.
Download Homeless and Special Education Administrative Collaboration: Recommendations.

Supporting Homeless Children and Youth with Disabilities: Legislative Provisions in the McKinney-Vento Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
This issue brief explains the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act that pertain to children and youth experiencing homelessness. Strategies for implementation are suggested.
Download Supporting Homeless Children and Youth with Disabilities: Legislative Provisions in the McKinney-Vento Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Navigating the Intersections of IDEA and McKinney-Vento: A Problem-Solving Process
This brief, part of NCHE's Best Practices in Homeless Education series, was developed from a one-day web-based policy forum co-hosted by NCHE and Project Forum. This forum convened special education and homeless education administrators from Colorado, Texas, and Virginia, to develop a collaborative process and identify strategies to enable state and local IDEA and McKinney-Vento staff to think through complex issues that arise in applying these federal laws when educating homeless children with disabilities.
Download Navigating the Intersections of IDEA and McKinney-Vento: A Problem-Solving Process.

School Help for Homeless Children with Disabilities: Information for Parents
This brief, part of NCHE's Helping You Help Your Child: Information for Parents series, provides information about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and how it can help homeless children with special needs. It is designed for parents, guardians, and other people taking care of children and youth.
Download School Help for Homeless Children with Disabilities: Information for Parents.


Other Resources

Connecting Homeless Students to Special Education Services: A Guide to Rights and Resources
This booklet, published by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, provides basic information about IDEA. It is geared towards a general audience that could include homeless families, unaccompanied youth, service providers, educators, or any other individuals seeking to assist homeless students with special needs.
Download Connecting Homeless Students to Special Education Services: A Guide to Rights and Resources.

Highly Mobile Children and Youth with Disabilities: Policies and Practices in Five States
This brief from Project Forum focuses highly mobile children with disabilities and their families. The document begins with a background section that provides information about policies and practices developed for mobile children at the federal level. The second section is an analysis of interviews with five state directors of special education and their corresponding McKinney-Vento program coordinators regarding how states are addressing the needs of this population. Interviewees discussed causes of mobility; how they locate mobile children; the number of mobile children and costs of services; features of state programs under McKinney-Vento; how they track outcomes; challenges they have encountered; and policy recommendations.
Download the brief.

Homelessness and Students with Disabilities: Educational Rights and Challenges
This brief from Project Forum provides information on the educational rights of children and youth who are homeless and have disabilities. It discusses the prevalence of disabilities among children and youth experiencing homelessness and provides local- and state-level policy recommendations for addressing the needs of homeless students with disabilities.
Download the brief.

Identifying Special Education Decision Makers for Children in Foster Care: State Law Questions
This article from the The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education dissects federal special education law and identifies areas where states can determine how the federal law will be implemented in their state. This article can assist anyone who has struggled with understanding how various states have different processes and procedures for determining who is the special education decisionmaker for a child, wants to identify what areas of state law or policy may need to be clarified to more effectively implement the federal law, and wants to engage in discussions in states and jurisdictions about what would be the right policy and practice for their state.
Download the article.

National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)
NASDSE provides support to all states and territories in the delivery of quality education to children and youth with disabilities through training, technical assistance, research, policy development and powerful collaborative relationships with other organizations and all constituencies.
Visit the website.

National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) IDEA Parent Guide
This guide seeks to inform parents of children with learning disabilities so that they can partner effectively with school personnel in supporting their children's special learning and behavioral needs. Although the guide is geared to parents, its accessible language makes it a valuable tool for anyone wanting to understand more about IDEA.
Visit the webpage.

Special Education Decisionmaking Factsheet Series
This factsheet series from the Legal Center on Foster Care and Education, designed for specific stakeholders, addresses the issues surrounding special education decisionmaking for children in out-of-home care. The series includes factsheets for caseworkers, children's attorneys, educators, foster parents, judges and youth.
Visit the webpage.

Unlocking Potential: What Educators Need to Know About Homelessness and Special Education
This brief from Project HOPE provides school personnel with the information they need to enroll, promote the attendance, and ensure the success of students with disabilities who are experiencing homelessness.
Download Unlocking Potential: What Educators Need to Know About Homelessness and Special Education.

Unlocking Potential: What Families and Shelters Needs to Know About Homelessness and Special Education
This brief from Project HOPE provides families experiencing homelessness and service providers who work with these families an overview of the special education process. It includes a table outlining the steps in the special education eligibility process and what families and service providers can do to make the process easier, resources to assist families or youth when special education services are being pursued, and definitions of words commonly used by educators and local homeless education liaisons.
Download the brief.

U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)
OSEP is dedicated to improving results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21 by providing leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts.
Visit the website.
View a list of IDEA Part B and Part C contacts by state.

Wrightslaw Special Education Website
The Wrightslaw website provides parents, advocates, educators, and attorneys with accurate, up-to-date information about special education law. Resources include a law and advocacy library and a yellowpages for kids for finding educational consultants, psychologists, diagnosticians, health care specialists, academic tutors, speech language therapists, advocates, and attorneys. There is also information about government programs, grassroots organizations, special education schools, and parent support groups.
Visit the website.

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The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) is the U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. NCHE is housed at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

This website was produced with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, on contract no. ED-01-CO-0092/0001. The content of this website does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education or the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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