RPS 205 serves the City of Rockford as well as parts of Winnebago County. During the 2019-2020 school year, the district's Families in Transition (FIT) Department worked with over 2,800 youths from ages birth to 21 and that number continues to increase. The number of high school youth, including unaccompanied youth (youth not living in the physical custody of parent/guardian) needing services has increased even more dramatically. Rockford Public Schools Families in Transition Program has numerous local organizations they keep in contact with such as the Mayor's Task Force, Crusader Clinic's Health Care for Homelessness and local shelters.
Your school-aged children may qualify for certain rights and protections under the federal McKinney-Vento Assistance Act. The Mckinney-Vento act defines "homeless children and youth" as individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.
This definition also includes eligible families who live in any of the following situations:
Eligible children and youth have the right to:
- Children living in "Substandard" conditions which include housing that lacks utilities (such as working water, gas or electricity). Housing that is infested with vermin and mold, and does not have a working kitchen or a working toilet. Housing that might present unreasonable dangers to adults, children, or persons with disabilities
- Children sharing housing with of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as doubled-up)
- Children living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations
- Children living in crisis shelters, emergency shelters or transitional shelters
- Children abandoned in hospitals
- Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings
- Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, at bus station or train stations, or similar settings
- Unaccompanied youth (students not living in the physical custody of parent/guardian. Commonly referred to as runaways, lockouts, throwaways, etc.)
- Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above
- Receive a free, appropriate public education
- Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment
- Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents
- Enroll in the local school; or continue attending their school of origin (the schools the attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is your preference and is feasible
- If the school district believes that the school you select is not in the best interest of your child(ren), then the district must provide you with a written explanation of its position and inform you of your right to appeal this decision
- Receive transportation to and from school, if the students meet the state statue eligibility requirements
- Receive educational services that "Non-homeless students" are eligible to receive
- A priority to certain pre-school programs
Please contact the FIT Department if you believe your children may be eligible to find out what services and support may be available. Contact FIT using the information below or via Let's Talk!