Authored By: Legal Services Alabama
Children who have lost housing or meet any other definition of "homeless" have rights under federal law.
1. Does my child count as homeless?
Yes, if you lost housing and are now staying with friends or with relatives.
Yes, if you are living:
- in an emergency shelter
- in a transitional shelter
- in a motel
- in a domestic violence shelter
- in a campground
- in an inadequate trailer park
- in a car
- on the street
- in public or abandoned buildings
2. I'm homeless. Where can my children go to school?
- You have a choice.
- If it is open, you can send your children back to the last school they attended.
- Or, you can choose instead to have your children go to the local school where you are now staying.
3. What if I don't have all my children's papers?
- You can enroll them right away.
- They have a right to attend school while you help the school get proof of shots and any school records.
4. Can my children ride the bus to school?
- Yes. Your children have the same right to transportation as any other children.
5. What if my children need special help in school?
- Your children have the right to any services they need for them to learn in school.
6. Can they make my children go to a school or classroom for homeless children?
- No. Your children have the right to go to school with children who are not homeless.
- They have the right to be in classes that are not just for homeless children.
7. What about my preschool child?
- Your preschool child has the same right to attend preschool as other children where you stay.
8. If the school will not take my child, who can I call?
- Call Beth Thompson in Montgomery at 334-242-8199. She is with the State Department of Education.
9. Where can I get more information?
You can visit the Alabama State Department of Education's website SDE Disaster Response Information.
Additional resources on education and homelessness:
- National Association for Education of Homeless Children and Youth
- National Center for Homeless Education (U.S. Department of Education funded)
- State Coordinators for Homeless Education
- Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program (Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 Non-Regulatory Guidance, July 2004)
- National Coalition for the Homeless
Reviewed May 2011
AlabamaLegalHelp.org offers legal information, not legal advice. We try hard to make sure this website accurately explains your rights and options. However, the site does not apply the law to your personal facts. For this sort of legal advice, you should call a lawyer. To apply for free legal services in Alabama, call the Legal Services Alabama office that is closest to where you live OR call toll-free 1-866-456-4995. You can also apply online at intake.alsp.org.