Homelessness, Foster Youth, and Education

Homelessness, Foster Youth, and Education SSL Draft

Summary:

This Act directs the state housing and development authority to:

  • Determine the number of homeless people, including homeless children, in the state, and the number of homeless people in the state who are not residents of the state;
  • Oversee and encourage a regional homeless delivery system; and
  • Facilitate the dissemination of information to help people access local resources related to homelessness, housing, and community development.

The Act extends the authority's power to coordinate and establish linkages between governmental and social services programs to include people or families facing or experiencing homelessness.

The Act requires the department of child services (DCS) to promote sibling visitation for every child who receives foster care. It allows a sibling or certain other individuals to request sibling visitation if one of the siblings is receiving foster care. The Act requires DCS to allow sibling visitation if it is in the best interests of the child receiving foster care. It provides that if DCS denies a request for sibling visitation, a child's guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate may petition a juvenile court for sibling visitation. The Act requires a court to grant sibling visitation if the court determines sibling visitation is in the best interests of the child who receives foster care. The Act permits a court to appoint a guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate if a child requesting sibling visitation is receiving foster care.

The law provides that a child may receive shelter and services or items directly related to providing shelter for homeless or low income individuals without the approval of a parent, guardian, or custodian. It requires an emergency shelter or shelter care facility to notify DCS not later than 24 hours after a child enters the shelter or facility unless the child is an emancipated minor. The bill requires DCS to conduct an investigation concerning the child not later than 48 hours after DCS receives notification and notify the child's parent, guardian, or custodian not later than 72 hours after the child enters the shelter or facility. It prohibits DCS from notifying the child's parent, guardian, or custodian as to the specific shelter or facility the child has entered if DCS has reason to believe the child is a victim of child abuse or neglect.

The Act requires the state department of education to establish an office of coordinator for education of homeless children. Under the Act, each school corporation must appoint a liaison for homeless children and report to the department of education the contact information for the liaison. The department of education must train new liaisons. Each school corporation that has an Internet web site must publish on the web site the contact information for the liaison.

The Act requires certain school corporations to transport a student in foster care to and from the school in which the student was enrolled before receiving foster care. It requires, after June 30, 2009, each school corporation to provide tutoring for a child who is in foster care or who is homeless if the school corporation determines a child has a demonstrated need for tutoring.

The Act allows a student who has resided in a school corporation for at least two consecutive years immediately before moving to an adjacent school corporation to attend school in the former school corporation without transfer tuition being charged if the principal and superintendent in both school corporations agree. It prohibits a student to enroll primarily for athletic reasons in a school in a school corporation where the student does not have legal settlement.

Submitted as:
Indiana
House Enrolled Act No. 1165

Status: Enacted into law in 2008.

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