The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
September 13, 2005

Issue - 322
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

1. More Than 250,000 Homeless Children

2. Education Rights of Homeless Children by Mike O'Connor, Esq.

3. Learn About the McKinney-Vento Act to Educate Homeless Children

4. IDEA 2004/NCLB Training in St. Clairsville/Wheeling WV, Sept. 16

5. Ways to Help After Katrina

6. Relief for People with Disabilities - and People Who Want to Help

7. Subscription & Contact Info


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At Wrightslaw, our mission is to help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the changing world of special education.

Highlights: Education rights of homeless children; learn about the McKinney-Vento Act for Educating Homeless Children & Youth; IDEA 2004/NCLB training program in St. Clairsville OH/Wheeling, WV; Ways to Help After Katrina; Relief for People with Disabilities.

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter is free - please forward this issue or the subscription link to your friends and colleagues so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. We appreciate your help!

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1. From the Editor: More Than 250,000 Homeless Children

We were transfixed, horrified, and emotionally overwhelmed by the pain and devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. More than 1 million people homeless, including over 250,000 school children. These children have lost their homes, friends, pets, and many have lost family members - including parents.

The number of child refugees is expected to climb as we hear from more small, rural school systems in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. (Source: NPR article on returning children to school)

As families leave devastated areas, many will disperse to friends’ and relatives’ homes across the country. They are stunned and helpless, not ready to start their lives over in a new city with a water bottle and a few vouchers for food. They are not self-sufficient and they need our help.

2. Education Rights of Homeless Children by Michael O'Connor, Esq.

As Mike O'Connor points out in Education Rights of Homeless Children, "For children who have been traumatized by the loss of home, friends, and perhaps death or injury of family members, returning to school is not only important for educational purposes; attendance at a school becomes an oasis of normalcy for them."

In this article, Mr. O'Connor summarizes the basic education rights of all homeless children and the rights of children with disabilities. The article includes many websites with more detailed information. Read article.

Learn more about the requirements for Educating Homeless Children

3. Learn About the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to Educate Homeless Children and Youth

As we thought about how we could help these homeless children and their families, Pete re-read the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the federal law that governs the education of homeless children and youth.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act provides many rights to homeless children and their families (and many responsibilities for school districts).

What rights does the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act provide? To whom? Who is eligible for services? How will enrollment disputes be resolved? How will placement decisions be made?

What responsibilities do states, school districts, and schools have under this law? What are the enrollment procedures for children who do not have documentation from their prior schools? Who is responsible for the ensuring that the needs of homeless children are met?

Is it true that decisions are to be made in the "best interest of the child"?

For answers to these and other questions, read the McKinney-Vento Act from Wrightslaw.

We reformatted the law so it is easy to read, print, and distribute to school district personnel, social service agencies, mental health providers, shelters, and child advocates who are responsible for these children.

Please Help! If you live in an area that is experiencing an increase in homeless children, please print and distribute this publication so that schools, agencies, and advocates are knowledgeable about these rights and responsibilities.

For legal information, articles, and other resources, please visit Educating Homeless Children.

Note: The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is available on the Wrightslaw NCLB CD-ROM (included with Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind).

4. IDEA 2004 & NCLB Training: St. Clairsville, OH / Wheeling, WV (Sept 16)

IDEA 2004 & NCLB by Wayne Steedman is a 6 hour program about key provisions of IDEA 2004 & No Child Left Behind. You will learn about new legal requirements for evaluations, parental consent and IEPs, new procedural requirements, and how to use No Child Left Behind to advocate for a child with a disability.

The registration fee includes the course book, Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004 (retail value: $14.95), continental breakfast, and lunch. You will also receive a complimentary copy of 10 Tips: How to Use IDEA 2004 to Improve Education for Children with Disabilities by Wayne Steedman.

. Download & distribute conference brochure and registration form

IDEA 2004 & NCLB Training in St. Clairsville OH / Wheeling, WV - Learn about logistics, registration, CLEs and CEUs, accommodations.

Wrightslaw Legal and Advocacy Training Programs

Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy Programs are designed to meet the needs of parents, educators, health care providers, advocates, and attorneys who represent children with disabilities. Our goal is provide individuals with the knowledge and skills to advocate effectively for children with disabilities.
Program Descriptions

5. Ways to Help After Katrina

Ways to Help After Katrina is an incredibly comprehensive source of information for survivors of Hurricane Katrina -- and for those who want to help. Ways to Help After Katrina includes links to disaster relief information of all kinds - how to register with FEMA, information on finding loved ones, housing, donations, how to volunteer, schooling /homeschooling, and animal rescue. There is a section with Houston-specific information.

Read Meredith's Tips about Donating

Our thanks to Meredith Warshaw of the Uniquely Gifted site for updating the information on Ways to Help After Katrina several times a day.

6. Katrina Disaster Relief for People with Disabilities - and People Who Want to Help Them

Katrina Disability Info is a treasure trove of information for everyone, not just those with special needs. The site has information for people with disabilities and those who want to help them.

At Katrina Disability Info, you will find information about people who are donating space in accessible homes and people who need accessible homes. You will learn how you can donate time, durable medical equipment, disposable goods and more.

7. Subscription & Contact Info

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Subscribers receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books.

Law Library Seminars & Training
Advocacy Yellow Pages for Kids
No Child Left Behind Free Newsletter
IDEA 2004 Newsletter Archives

Contact Info
Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: https://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletter@wrightslaw.com