Families in Transition
The Round Rock Independent School District Family Families in Transition (FiT)/ Homeless Education Program office is committed to ensuring that all children in homeless situations have the opportunity to enroll in, attend, and succeed in school. FiT assists in providing programs and opportunities that might not otherwise be available for those students. FiT is committed to enhancing student learning by impacting the quality of education. This is accomplished by offering enhanced opportunities and resources available in the community.
The Families in Transition Homeless Education Program Services
- Enrollment assistance, and birth certificates for Texas born students
- Free school meals
- Tuition fees for summer school
- Prekindergarten enrollment assistance
- School supplies
- Parent education resources
- Community referrals for needed resources
- Counseling referrals
- Provide transportation to homeless student’s school of origin
- Raising awareness and provide specific training for educators and the community
- Ensuring homeless students have access to appropriate existing services (e.g., early childhood programs, special education programs, gifted and talented programs, etc.)
- Coordinating with existing programs (e.g., Head Start, programs for adolescents, and housing agencies)
If you need assistance, please contact our program personnel at 512-464-5051.
Austin Shelter for Women and Children
Bluebonnet Trails Community MHMR Center
Catholic Charities of Central Texas
Foundation for the Homeless
Georgetown Housing Authority
Hill Country Community Ministries (Assistance with food, clothes, eye exams, and other needs)
Hope Alliance/Williamson County Crisis Center (WCCC)
(512) 255-1212; Hotline: (800) 460-SAFE (7233)
Housing Authority of the City of Austin
Public Housing: (512) 477-4488; Section 8: (512) 477-1314
Housing Authority of Round Rock
Public Housing (512) 255-3702; Section 8: (512) 255-1336
Housing Authority of Taylor
Housing Authority of Travis County
Job Source Program – Goodwill
(512) 637-7100; Job Line: (512) 637-7105
Lone Star Circle of Care
AW Grimes Medical Office: (512) 238-5400
Round Rock Health Clinic: (877) 800-5722
Dental Clinic: (512) 864-1445
OB/GYN: (512) 828-3300
Round Rock Area Serving Center (Assistance with food, clothing, furniture, computers, financial assistance)
Round Rock Public Library
Sacred Heart Community Clinic
Salvation Army Shelter
(512) 267-7233; TTY: (512) 927-9616
Starry (Counseling services)
Texas Baptist Children’s Home Family Care Program
Main: (512) 255-3682; (512) 828-0658
Texas Child Abuse Hotline
1-800-252-5400; TTY: 1-800-735-2989
The Texas State University Counseling Practicum Clinic (Counseling services)
United Way of Williamson County
Williamson County Health Department (Assistance with immunizations)
Cedar Park: (512) 260-4240
Round Rock: (512) 248-3257
Taylor: (512) 352-4109
Georgetown: (512) 943-3640
Social Security Administration Hotline;
1-800-722-1213; TTY: 1-800-325-0778
National Runaway Safeline;
Texas Homeless Education Office;
Texas Youth & Runaway Hotline;
CARTS – Williamson County; 512-478-7433
Who are Homeless Children and Youth?
Before schools can be certain they are complying with legislation related to educating students experiencing homelessness, they must understand who can be considered homeless. The McKinney-Vento Act (Section 725) defines “homeless children and youths” (school-aged and younger) as:
- Children and youths who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youths who are:
- Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason.
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations.
- Living in emergency or transitional shelters.
- Abandoned in hospitals.
- Awaiting foster care placement.
- Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, regular sleeping accommodations.
- Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.
- Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in the circumstances described above.
- The term unaccompanied youth includes a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. This would include runaways living in runaway shelters, abandoned buildings, cars, on the streets, or in other inadequate housing; children and youths denied housing by their families (sometimes referred to “throwaway children and youths”); and school-age unwed mothers living in homes for unwed mothers because they have no other housing available.
Unaccompanied youth include young people who have run away from home, been thrown out of their homes, or have been abandoned by parents. These young people are separated from their parents for a variety of reasons. Over half reported being physically abused at home, and over one-third reported sexual abuse. Over two-thirds reported that at least one of their parents abused drugs or alcohol. For many of these young people, leaving home is a survival issue.
Unaccompanied youth have the same rights as other students experiencing homelessness to enroll in, attend, and succeed in public school.
Young people experiencing homelessness live:
- In shared housing with other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason. When families “double up” because one family is experiencing financial hardship, that family is considered homeless.
- In motels, hotels, or camping grounds due to the lack of adequate alternative accommodations
- In cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
- In emergency or transitional shelters
- In hospitals where they were abandoned
- In foster care homes awaiting placement
In determining whether or not a child or youth is homeless, consider the relative permanence of the living arrangements. Determination of homelessness should be made on a case-by-case basis.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
The education provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act, which are now incorporated within No Child Left Behind, ensure educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness. The law directly applies to homeless unaccompanied youth who also receive some special attention within the Act.
The Act’s Key Provisions
The McKinney-Vento Act (Section 725) specifies and protects the rights of children and youth in homeless situations. Highlights include:
Immediate Enrollment – The right to be enrolled immediately in school, without immunization or academic records, and birth certificate, regardless of district policy.
Transportation – Students in highly mobile or homeless situations are entitled to transportation to and from the school of origin, if it is feasible, in the student’s best interest, and requested by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth.
Services – Students experiencing homelessness are entitled to the same programs and services that are available to other children in the District, such as gifted and talented education, special education, vocational education, English Language Learner services, and tutoring. Students are automatically eligible for Title I services and Districts must set aside funds as necessary to provide services.
Dispute Resolution – If problems arise between the school and parents or between districts, the parent shall be referred to the school’s homeless liaison. In the meantime, the student must remain in school and receive transportation.
Identifiers/Effects of Student Homelessness
Transient/Unstable Lifestyle May Result In:
- Difficulty with transitions
- Aggressive behavior
- Increased clinging behavior
- Short attention span
- School behavior problems
- Regressive behavior/inattentiveness
- Persistent tiredness/sleep disorders
- Erratic attendance or tardiness
- Inability to contact parents
- Numerous absences
- Changing schools many times during the school year
Living In Crowded Conditions May Result In:
- Lack of privacy
- Inability to get enough sleep
- Inability to do homework in a quiet area
- Anxiety about loss of possessions
- Loss of books and other supplies
- Concern for safety
Frequently Changing Schools May Result In:
- Gaps in skill development
- An unwillingness to risk bonding with classmates and teachers
- Lack of continuity
Inadequate Personal hygiene May Be The Result Of:
- Lack of access to showers
- Lack of laundry products and facilities
- Lack of hygiene supplies
Lack of Clean or Suitable Clothing May Result In:
- Children not attending school because their clothes are dirty, old, or otherwise different from clothes worn by other students
Emotional Needs of Students Experiencing Homelessness
The school and community collaborating possible strategies to meet the needs of the students experiencing homelessness:
- School supplies and clothing
- Educators who are knowledgeable about homelessness
- Provide referrals and resources for after-school and extracurricular programs to provide food, shelter, and recreation
- Transportation to and from school of origin
- Educational programs that offer stability and continuity
- Educational services and in-school support services
- Family support services encouraging family involvement