HOMELESS YOUTH IN CRISIS
UNACCOMPANIED YOUTH UNDER 18 YEARS OLD
UNACCOMPANIED YOUTH 18 YEARS OR OLDER
UNACCOMPANIED YOUTH UNDER 18 YEARS OLD FDC (LEGAL)
Unaccompanied Youth includes a homeless child or youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. 42. U.S.C. 1143A. Students become unaccompanied for a variety of reasons including but not limited to:
- Abandonment and refusal to accept parental responsibility are where the parent or caregiver left the child in a potentially harmful situation and did not plan to return for the child.
- Refusal to accept parental responsibility - Child has been out of the home for any reason, and parent/caregiver refuses to allow the child to return home.
- Parent is unavailable (due to death, deportation, incarceration, etc., or whereabouts are unknown.
- Student is a runaway
Any student under the age of 18 who is in a situation which requires action in less than 24 hours must be reported to the Police Department and/or Child Protective Services.
Only law enforcement or Child Protective Services can make the determination of whether the unaccompanied youth is in danger for neglect.
In the absence of emancipation, unaccompanied homeless youth can be taken into police custody as a runaway, which is considered a status offense. The officer may release the youth into the custody of the youth's guardian, a school official, or a juvenile court.
UNACCOMPANIED YOUTH 18 YEARS OLD OR OLDER
A student 18 years of age or older who is not in the physical custody of parents or legal guardians and is their own caretaker who approaches a staff member claiming they have no place to go
RUNAWAY YOUTH (LESS THAN 18 YEARS OF AGE)
A runaway student is a youth over the age of 10 and under the age of 18 who leaves home without the consent of a parent or legal guardian and does not intend to return home.
In the absence of emancipation, unaccompanied homeless youth can be taken into police custody as a runaway, which is considered a status offense.
Texas law uses the term, “conduct indicating a need for supervision,” which is a need for supervision including running away from home without the intent to return.
The determination of runaway status is made by the police department and not school personnel therefore suspicion of runaway students should be reported to the legal authority.
Unaccompanied students under the age of 18 without legal parents/ guardians who come forward claiming they are homeless must be reported to the police department and child protective services to determine whether or not the student is a runaway or a victim of neglect.
Determination of homeless status may be made by the homeless liaison after the student has completed the Student Residency Questionnaire and/or by law enforcement.
Unaccompanied students 18 years or over without legal parents/ guardians can no longer be considered runaways nor victims of child abuse. Most youth care facilities will not accept individuals 18 years or older.
Emancipation, or the “removal of disabilities of minority,” is the removal of barriers to independence that typically affects minors, such as not being able to control their finances, obtain housing, consent to medical treatment, or enter into other contracts necessary to live independently. Through emancipation, a 16 or 17 year old can become a legal adult while still under the age of majority (18). To successfully petition for emancipated status, the youth must support themselves and manage their own finances.
Information about youth care facilities:
Youth care facilities may provide shelter to unaccompanied homeless youth in cases of emergency, such as when the physical health or safety of the youth is threatened. The maximum time limit for care in emergency situations is 15 days, without parental consent.
Youths are able to consent their own care if they are either pregnant or a parent of a child, of if they are 16 or older, living apart from their parent or guardian, and managing their own financial affairs.
Harboring runaway youth:
A person is in violation of Texas law if he or she knowingly harbors a runaway youth less than 18 years of age and who has escaped from the custody of:
- A peace officer;
- A probation officer,
- The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD),
- A detention facility for children, or
- If the youth is voluntarily absent from home without the consent of a parent or guardian for a substantial length of time or without the intent to return.
Family Emergency Resources:
The Dallas ISD Homeless Education Program has provided an extensive list of Emergency Assistance Resources for families who have either recently become homeless or for those who are in need of additional assistance.
Departments associated with Homeless Crisis