Student Services

Programs for Homeless Children and Youth


Carroll County Public Schools Commitment

Carroll County Public Schools (CCPS) is committed to providing supports and services to homeless children, youth, and families. Whenever feasible, Carroll County Public Schools will work to minimize the barriers to education for homeless students, connect families to community agencies,  and provide support to minimize the disruption to receiving an education.

CCPS is responsible for considering the school of origin for homeless children and youth, and for providing prompt service to parents and children who need assistance.

Definition of Homelessness

According to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the Every Student Succeeds Act, a student is considered homeless if the student lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.  Students living under the following conditions may be considered homeless:


  1. Children and Youth Living in Trailer Parks and Camping Grounds - Children and youth staying temporarily in trailer parks or camping areas because they lack adequate living accommodations should be considered homeless. Those living in trailer parks or camping areas on a long-term basis in adequate accommodations should not be considered homeless.
  2. Doubled-up Children and Youth - Children and youth who are living in “doubled-up” accommodations (sharing housing with other families or individuals) are considered homeless if they are doubled-up because of a loss or similar situation. Families living in doubled-up accommodations voluntarily to save money, generally, should not be considered homeless.
  3. Children and Youth Living in a Homeless Shelter – Children and youth who are living in a homeless or domestic violence shelter are considered homeless.
  4. Runaways - Children or youth who have run away from home and live in runaway shelters, abandoned buildings, the streets, or other inadequate accommodations are considered homeless, even if their parents/legal guardians have provided and are willing to provide a home for them.
  5. Throwaway children or youth - Children and youth whose parents/legal guardians will not permit them to live at home are considered homeless if they live on the street, in shelters, or in other transitional or inadequate accommodations.
  6. Unaccompanied YouthA youth who meets the McKinney-Vento definition of homeless youth and is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.  An unaccompanied youth may make educational decisions in the absence of a parent, when appropriate.

School Enrollment

  1. A school must enroll a homeless student in the school determined to be in the best interest of the student. The school shall immediately notify the Pupil Personnel Worker (PPW) of any homeless student who enrolls in school and any current student who becomes homeless while enrolled in Carroll County Public Schools.  The PPW will initiate a "Student in Temporary Housing" form and determine if school-based interventions are needed. If a homeless student does not have the required documents for enrollment, the requirement will be waived so the student may start school immediately. The PPW will assist the family with obtaining the documents.

      2. The school system shall, to the extent feasible, provide each homeless student with the option to:

1. Remain in the school of origin for the remainder of the academic year in which the student becomes homeless, even if permanent housing is obtained later that year.

2. Remain in the school of origin as long as the student remains homeless; the student may attend subsequent feeder schools if the student remains homeless.

3. Enroll in the attendance area in which the homeless student is living.

NOTE: A student, parent, or legal guardian may appeal the Pupil Personnel Worker's decision regarding school enrollments. See the Appeal Process below.



If in the best interest of the student as determined by the school system, and if feasible, the school system must provide a homeless student with transportation services as long as the student attends the school of origin and remains homeless, or if the student becomes permanently housed, until the end of the academic year during which the housing is obtained.  Factors to be considered in determining the best interest of the student are:

-Age and grade placement of student

-School which student’s siblings attend

-Academic needs/strengths

-Social/emotional needs

-Continuity of instruction

-Distance of the commute and its impact on the student’s education

-Personal safety of the student

-Student’s need for special instruction

-Length of anticipated stay in temporary housing

-Likely location of future placement/housing

-Impact of mobility on placement

-Special needs of the family

-Time remaining in the school year

If the homeless student resides outside of Carroll County, the two school systems shall confer to determine the feasibility of transportation options.

Parental and Student Rights

The Pupil Personnel Worker (PPW) will provide parents with a Parental Rights Brochure which outlines the rights of homeless students under the McKinney-Vento Act.  Contact your PPW or CCPS Homeless Program Liaison if you have any questions regarding your rights.

Know Your Rights: Click here to access the Facts About Education for Homeless Children and Youth brochure

Appeal Process: A parent, legal guardian, or eligible student may appeal a decision regarding school enrollment, transportation, or a waiver of fees.  If the school of origin request is denied or rescinded, the Pupil Personnel Worker shall provide a written explanation of the decision including the appeal process. During the appeal process, a student may remain in the school of origin or enroll in the school serving the geographic area where the student is temporarily housed. An appeal must be made in writing within 10 school days upon receipt of the written decision by the Pupil Personnel Worker. The appeal shall be sent to the Homeless Education Liaison at Carroll County Public Schools, 125 North Court Street, Westminster, MD 21157. Telephone (410) 386-1822 or Fax (410) 751-3695.

Support Services

The Office of Student Services provides educational support to homeless students and their families, ensuring that services are provided as outlined under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act and Every Student Succeeds Act,  to ensure continuity in education.

All homeless students are eligible to receive services under the McKinney-Vento Act. A student who obtains permanent housing may continue to receive services until the end of the school year.

The PPW will provide direct services and case management to students who are experiencing homelessness.  PPWs will act as the liaison between the home, school, and community to coordinate services to families to promote student success.

In addition, Title I is a federally funded program designed to ensure that all children, regardless of family income, have access to a high quality education. This program provides academic support services to students experiencing homelessness, including tutoring and counseling services.

Contact your PPW  or the Supervisor of Student Support for more information about services for students.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Where will my child go to school?

The decision about which school your child attends school shall be made in consultation with the Pupil Personnel Worker.

If the school your child attended before becoming homeless (school of origin) is in Carroll County, your child may continue to attend that school unless—

■ you decide it would be better for your child to transfer to the school serving your temporary nighttime location, or

■ we believe there is a good reason for your child to transfer to the school serving your temporary nighttime location

What if I disagree with the school enrollment decision?

If you disagree with CCPS on the school that would serve the best interest of your child, you have a right to appeal. Appeals should be made in writing to the CCPS homeless liaison within 10 days of the decision of the PPW.  During the appeal process, your child may continue to attend the school of origin. The Principal or Homeless Liaison can help you submit an appeal, if needed. 

What do I need to enroll my child in school?

Your child has the right to be enrolled in school without delay. You will need to complete the enrollment form, available at the link below:

New Student Enrollment form

You will also need to provide the following documents at the time of or soon after enrolling

your child:

■ Proof of residence

■ Proof of Age

■ Immunization records

Do not delay in enrolling your child in school. If you do not have these documents, we can help you obtain them.

Your child will receive lunch the first day, and is automatically eligible for free meals in the Free and Reduced-price Meal System (FARMS).

How will my child get to school?

Transportation will be provided for homeless students attending their school of origin or the school serving their temporary nighttime location, except for walkers. A PPW will assist in arranging transportation.  If your child misses school due to lack of transportation, the absence will be excused.  If a homeless student becomes permanently housed during the school year, he or she will continue to receive transportation until the end of that school year.

How can CCPS help?

The CCPS Homeless Liaison, Pupil Personnel Worker, or other school staff can help you do the following:

■ Locate and obtain enrollment documents and school records

■ Seek additional services such as special education, gifted and talented programs, tutoring, counseling, etc.

■ Obtain transportation

■ Seek support from appropriate community agencies such as Human Services Program (HSP)

■ Answer questions about getting a waiver of school-related fees or school supplies


High School Unaccompanied Youth:

Homeless teenagers often face barriers to school enrollment and access to services. Barriers to earning full or partial credit shall be identified and removed, when feasible. All homeless students shall receive assistance from the school counselor regarding opportunities for college education.  The school counselor will meet with the student to provide guidance in applying for college and financial aid.  In addition, all homeless unaccompanied youth  shall be informed of their status as an independent for college financial aid and obtain assistance to receive verification for the FAFSA. 

A homeless student may be eligible for a tuition waiver at a Maryland State Higher Education College. (See HB400 – Higher Education Tuition Waivers for Foster Care Recipients and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth).   In addition, Maryland House Bill 400 affords students defined as “unaccompanied youth” experiencing homelessness tuition waivers to attend college.


M. Dona Foster

Supervisor of Student Services - Student Support

CCPS Homeless Liaison

Carroll County Public Schools

410-386-1822 v   410-751-3695 fax



Community Resources

Human Services Program (HSP)

Health Department Community Resource Guide

Homeless Resource Sheet

School Food Pantry Locations

Carroll County Food Resource Guide

Carroll County Homeless Shelter Programs

Annual Report – Homeless Data