Education of Homeless Children and Youth

Homeless Student Stability Program

In 2016 the Legislature passed the Homeless Student Stability and Opportunity Gap Act, to amend state laws related to improving educational outcomes for homeless students through increased identification services, in-school supports, and housing stability. The resulting Homeless Student Stability Program at OSPI complements the Federal McKinney-Vento program, providing additional support and resources for districts.

Building Liaisons

RCW 28A.320.142 requires school districts that identified more than ten unaccompanied homeless youth during the prior year to establish building-level homeless liaisons at all secondary schools – middle schools, junior high, and high schools. These building level homeless liaisons must be appointed by the principal and trained by the district’s homeless liaison. The primary responsibility of the building liaison is to identify homeless and unaccompanied youth and connect them to the district homeless student liaison.

Informed Consent for Health Care

RCW 7.70.065 authorizes school nurses, school counselors, or homeless student liaisons to provide consent for non-emergency outpatient primary care services for unaccompanied homeless students.

  • Non-emergency outpatient primary care services include: physical examinations, vision examinations and eyeglasses, dental examinations, hearing examinations, and hearing aids, immunizations, treatments for illnesses and conditions, and routine follow-up care customarily provided by a health care provider in an outpatient setting, excluding elective surgeries. Health services may also include outpatient treatment for mental health and substance abuse.
  • Upon request by a health care facility or provider, the school district personnel authorizing the care must give the facility or provider a signed and dated written declaration verifying their position and that the student is unaccompanied and homeless. (Sample Informed Consent for Health Care authorization form.)
  • School Nurses, School Counselors, Homeless Liaisons, School Districts, their employing district and/or school are not subject to administrative sanctions or civil damages resulting from the consent or non-consent for care, any care, or payment for any care.

State Grants

For the 2017-18 school year, OSPI awarded twelve new Homeless Student Stability Program (HSSP) grants. The funds will be used for a variety of locally determined needs, including staffing, professional development, partnerships with community-based organizations, and other services that support students experiencing homelessness.

School districts receiving grants include:

  • Bellingham Consortia, $52,228
  • Bethel School District, $92,127
  • Evergreen School District (Clark), $83,943
  • Kelso Consortia, $111,452
  • Mount Adams School District, $65,422
  • North Thurston Public Schools, $98,654
  • Seattle Public Schools, $91,697
  • Selah School District, $4,000
  • South Whidbey School District, $64,000
  • Spokane School District, $55,000
  • Tacoma School District, $104,207
  • Taholah School District, $25,200

For more information, please contact:
Jess Lewis
Program Supervisor
Homeless Student Stability
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
Office: 360-725-6505 


   Updated 1/3/2018

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