What Schools Must Do to Help Displaced Kids

Authored By: Atlanta Legal Aid Society Inc


Federal law guarantees that any child displaced due to emergency and living in emergency shelters or temporary residency is entitled to attend school immediately.

The law says that:

  • Every school district must designate a person to contact for children and youth trying to enroll in school while living in temporary places. This includes preschool services such as Head Start and Even Start programs and preschool programs administered by the school district.
  • Schools must enroll students immediately, even if the student is unable to provide documents that are typically required for enrollment. If your child is disabled and needs special education services, you should notify the school of this immediately upon enrollment.
  • Schools must permit students to attend classes and participate fully in school activities.
  • Delay of enrollment for verification of proof of age, residence, guardianship, immunization, or awaiting school records from the students' district of origin is not allowed.
  • Eligibility for free school meals go to any child, living in temporary residence or in an emergency shelter. They do not have to complete an application.
  • Schools are required to provide referrals for health, mental health, dental, and other appropriate services in the community.
  • Transportation must be provided by the school district comparable to that transportation provided to students in permanent housing.

Remember, creating a sense of stability & normalcy is important to aid children in the recovery process.

To locate your local school district's contact information, please click here: .

If you are in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton or Gwinnett counties and need assistance with educational issues, call Atlanta Legal Aid Society's main office at 404-524-5811. Outside of metro Atlanta, call Georgia Legal Services Program at 404-206-5175.

Last Review and Update: Sep 21, 2017