Report 2019-104 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2019-104: Youth Experiencing Homelessness: California's Education System for K-12 Inadequately Identifies and Supports These Youth (Release Date: November 2019)

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Recommendations to Birmingham Community Charter School
Number Recommendation Status
6

To comply with federal law and best practices, Birmingham Charter should, before academic year 2020-21, ensure that school staff who provide services to youth experiencing homelessness receive training as federal law requires. Further, as set forth in best practices, the LEA should provide this training at least annually, and the training should include the definition of homelessness, signs of homelessness, the impact of homelessness on youth, and the steps an LEA should take once school staff has identified a youth as possibly experiencing homelessness.

12

To comply with federal law and best practices, Birmingham Charter should, before academic year 2020-21, distribute information about the educational rights of youth experiencing homelessness in public places, including schools, shelters, public libraries, and food pantries frequented by families of such youth, as federal law requires. Further, to mitigate families' and youth's hesitance to disclosing their living situation the LEA should include the protections set forth in federal and state laws in the information it distributes.

18

To comply with federal law and best practices, Birmingham Charter should, before academic year 2020-21, publish information on its website about the educational rights and protections of youth experiencing homelessness.

Recommendations to Education, Department of
Number Recommendation Status
27

To ensure that youth experiencing homelessness have access to the necessary services to help them succeed in school, by August 2020 Education should establish guidance for implementing data-sharing agreements between the LEAs and other organizations that provide services to these youth.

34

To ensure that it has the resources necessary to effectively meet its responsibilities under federal law, Education should complete a staffing analysis by May 2020 to determine the resources needed to meet its responsibilities for homeless education. This analysis should consider the resources needed to implement all of the recommendations in this report.

35

If Education determines that it needs additional resources, it should take the necessary steps, including reallocating existing resources within the department, to secure the needed resources.

36

To effectively monitor LEAs and help them identify additional youth experiencing homelessness, Education should develop a method for determining those LEAs that may be underidentifying youth experiencing homelessness. For example, Education could determine which LEAs identified less than 5 percent of their economically disadvantaged youth as experiencing homelessness.

37

To effectively monitor LEAs and help them identify additional youth experiencing homelessness, for those LEAs it determines may be underidentifying youth experiencing homelessness, Education should provide general guidance on its website or through group emails to help them increase their identification rates and, as resources permit, should provide detailed technical assistance to selected LEAs that Education believes may be at the highest risk of missing a greater number of youth experiencing homelessness.

38

To ensure that all LEAs receive necessary guidance and training, Education should review the guidance documents and templates, including the housing questionnaire and poster, that Education makes available on its website for LEAs and ensure that all the documents reflect current best practices. For example, the questionnaire and the posters should include the rights and protections afforded to youth experiencing homelessness and their families to alleviate any apprehensions of identifying themselves as experiencing homelessness. Education should then make all LEAs aware of these revised documents.

39

To ensure that all LEAs receive necessary guidance and training, Education should Inform all LEAs of the requirement to disseminate information about the educational rights of youth experiencing homelessness in locations frequented by families of such youth, including schools, shelters, public libraries, and food pantries. Further, Education should encourage LEAs to inform families and youth about protections afforded to those experiencing homelessness. For example, it could encourage LEAs to accomplish this through their housing questionnaire.

40

To ensure that all LEAs receive necessary guidance and training, Education should revise its training modules to ensure that they reinforce key best practices recommended by the U.S. ED and other homeless education experts.

41

To ensure that all LEAs receive necessary guidance and training, Education should develop training modules, as outlined in the state plan, for LEA staff who provide services to youth experiencing homelessness. These training modules should include the provisions of law and the definition of homelessness, procedures for identifying and enrolling youth experiencing homelessness, and the services that Education expects LEAs to provide to these youth.

Recommendations to Greenfield Union School District
Number Recommendation Status
7

To comply with federal law and best practices, Greenfield should, before academic year 2020-21, ensure that school staff who provide services to youth experiencing homelessness receive training as federal law requires. Further, as set forth in best practices, the LEA should provide this training at least annually, and the training should include the definition of homelessness, signs of homelessness, the impact of homelessness on youth, and the steps an LEA should take once school staff has identified a youth as possibly experiencing homelessness.

13

To comply with federal law and best practices, Greenfield should, before academic year 2020-21, distribute information about the educational rights of youth experiencing homelessness in public places, including schools, shelters, public libraries, and food pantries frequented by families of such youth, as federal law requires. Further, to mitigate families' and youth's hesitance to disclosing their living situation the LEA should include the protections set forth in federal and state laws in the information it distributes.

19

To comply with federal law and best practices, Greenfield should, before academic year 2020-21, publish information on its website about the educational rights and protections of youth experiencing homelessness.

24

To ensure that families of youth experiencing homelessness can readily access information about the LEA's homeless education program as best practices recommend, Greenfield should publish its local liaison's contact information in an easy-to-find place on its website.

Recommendations to Gridley Unified School District
Number Recommendation Status
8

To comply with federal law and best practices, Gridley should, before academic year 2020-21, ensure that school staff who provide services to youth experiencing homelessness receive training as federal law requires. Further, as set forth in best practices, the LEA should provide this training at least annually, and the training should include the definition of homelessness, signs of homelessness, the impact of homelessness on youth, and the steps an LEA should take once school staff has identified a youth as possibly experiencing homelessness.

14

To comply with federal law and best practices, Gridley should, before academic year 2020-21, distribute information about the educational rights of youth experiencing homelessness in public places, including schools, shelters, public libraries, and food pantries frequented by families of such youth, as federal law requires. Further, to mitigate families' and youth's hesitance to disclosing their living situation the LEA should include the protections set forth in federal and state laws in the information it distributes.

20

To comply with federal law and best practices, Gridley should, before academic year 2020-21, publish information on its website about the educational rights and protections of youth experiencing homelessness.

25

To ensure that families of youth experiencing homelessness can readily access information about the LEA's homeless education program as best practices recommend, Gridley should publish its local liaison's contact information in an easy-to-find place on its website.

Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status
1

To ensure that LEAs effectively identify and serve youth experiencing homelessness, the Legislature should require LEAs to follow best practices to distribute to all families and youth, at least annually, a housing questionnaire with content that defines homelessness in a manner consistent with the McKinney-Vento Act.

2

To ensure that LEAs effectively identify and serve youth experiencing homelessness, the Legislature should require LEAs to follow best practices to request all families or youth to complete and return the housing questionnaire. For example, an LEA could combine this questionnaire with the emergency contact forms, which the families or youth are strongly encouraged to complete and return each year.

3

To ensure that LEAs effectively identify and serve youth experiencing homelessness, the Legislature should require LEAs to follow best practices to include in the housing questionnaire the educational rights and protections afforded to youth experiencing homelessness and the purpose of the questionnaire, including that the LEA uses the requested information to determine whether youth are eligible to receive additional support and services. Specifically, the Legislature should require LEAs to inform individuals in the housing questionnaire that under federal law all children are entitled to a free public education regardless of their immigration status, and that under state law homelessness by itself is not a reason for school officials to make a report to child protective services.

4

To ensure that LEAs effectively identify and serve youth experiencing homelessness, the Legislature should require LEAs to follow best practices to ensure that all school staff who provide services to youth experiencing homelessness receive training on the homeless education program at least annually. The Legislature should specify that staff who provide services to these youth include enrollment staff, cafeteria staff, bus drivers, social workers and counselors, teachers, and administrators.

5

o ensure that LEAs effectively identify and serve youth experiencing homelessness, the Legislature should require LEAs to follow best practices to collaborate with other organizations that provide services to those experiencing homelessness to enhance identification and provision of the services available to such youth. The Legislature should specify that these collaborations must include working with organizations that provide counseling services, social welfare services, meal services, health care services, and housing services.

28

To ensure that Education provides effective oversight for the education of youth experiencing homelessness, the Legislature should require Education to develop and implement an LEA monitoring plan that is risk-based and focuses its reviews, both onsite and desk reviews, on those LEAs that Education determines are at the greatest risk of underidentifying youth experiencing homelessness and those LEAs whose homeless education program policies may be outdated.

29

To ensure that Education provides effective oversight for the education of youth experiencing homelessness, the Legislature should require Education to develop and implement procedures for verifying key information that LEAs submit through CARS. For example, Education can verify the information by requesting supporting documentation for a sample of LEAs that have reported zero or few youth experiencing homelessness and have indicated in CARS that their local liaisons have received training.

30

To ensure that Education provides effective oversight for the education of youth experiencing homelessness, the Legislature should require Education to review LEAs' information in CARS about when they last updated their homeless education policies and remind those LEAs that indicate that their board policies may be outdated to update their policies to reflect current requirements.

31

To ensure that Education provides effective oversight for the education of youth experiencing homelessness, the Legislature should require Education to develop alternative interactive training, such as webinars in which participants can ask questions, to reach a greater number of LEAs. It should place recordings of these webinars on its website for all LEAs to review.

32

To ensure that Education provides effective oversight for the education of youth experiencing homelessness, the Legislature should require Education to provide guidance to local liaisons regarding their responsibilities under the McKinney-Vento Act, including that they must ensure that school personnel who provide services to youth experiencing homelessness receive training on the proper identification and reporting procedures. Also, it should require Education to develop procedures for its staff to use to verify that all LEA staff who provide services to these youth receive such training at least annually, as best practices recommend.

33

To ensure that Education provides effective oversight for the education of youth experiencing homelessness, the Legislature should require Education to use existing LEA data, including data on the number of youth identified as experiencing homelessness and performance outcomes of those youth, to identify LEAs that may be underidentifying such youth and that may not have effective homeless education programs. It should also require Education to assist these LEAs through appropriate means.

Recommendations to Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District
Number Recommendation Status
9

To comply with federal law and best practices, Norwalk-La Mirada should, before academic year 2020-21, ensure that school staff who provide services to youth experiencing homelessness receive training as federal law requires. Further, as set forth in best practices, the LEA should provide this training at least annually, and the training should include the definition of homelessness, signs of homelessness, the impact of homelessness on youth, and the steps an LEA should take once school staff has identified a youth as possibly experiencing homelessness.

15

To comply with federal law and best practices, Norwalk-La Mirada should, before academic year 2020-21, distribute information about the educational rights of youth experiencing homelessness in public places, including schools, shelters, public libraries, and food pantries frequented by families of such youth, as federal law requires. Further, to mitigate families' and youth's hesitance to disclosing their living situation the LEA should include the protections set forth in federal and state laws in the information it distributes.

21

To comply with federal law and best practices, Norwalk-La Mirada should, before academic year 2020-21, publish information on its website about the educational rights and protections of youth experiencing homelessness.

Recommendations to San Bernardino City Unified School District
Number Recommendation Status
10

To comply with federal law and best practices, San Bernardino should, before academic year 2020-21, ensure that school staff who provide services to youth experiencing homelessness receive training as federal law requires. Further, as set forth in best practices, the LEA should provide this training at least annually, and the training should include the definition of homelessness, signs of homelessness, the impact of homelessness on youth, and the steps an LEA should take once school staff has identified a youth as possibly experiencing homelessness.

16

To comply with federal law and best practices, San Bernardino should, before academic year 2020-21, distribute information about the educational rights of youth experiencing homelessness in public places, including schools, shelters, public libraries, and food pantries frequented by families of such youth, as federal law requires. Further, to mitigate families' and youth's hesitance to disclosing their living situation the LEA should include the protections set forth in federal and state laws in the information it distributes.

22

To comply with federal law and best practices, San Bernardino should, before academic year 2020-21, publish information on its website about the educational rights and protections of youth experiencing homelessness.

Recommendations to Vallejo City Unified School District
Number Recommendation Status
11

To comply with federal law and best practices, Vallejo should, before academic year 2020-21, ensure that school staff who provide services to youth experiencing homelessness receive training as federal law requires. Further, as set forth in best practices, the LEA should provide this training at least annually, and the training should include the definition of homelessness, signs of homelessness, the impact of homelessness on youth, and the steps an LEA should take once school staff has identified a youth as possibly experiencing homelessness.

17

To comply with federal law and best practices, Vallejo should, before academic year 2020-21, distribute information about the educational rights of youth experiencing homelessness in public places, including schools, shelters, public libraries, and food pantries frequented by families of such youth, as federal law requires. Further, to mitigate families' and youth's hesitance to disclosing their living situation the LEA should include the protections set forth in federal and state laws in the information it distributes.

23

To comply with federal law and best practices, Vallejo should, before academic year 2020-21, publish information on its website about the educational rights and protections of youth experiencing homelessness.

26

To ensure that families of youth experiencing homelessness can readily access information about the LEA's homeless education program as best practices recommend, Vallejo should publish its local liaison's contact information in an easy-to-find place on its website.



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