THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Office of P-20 Education Policy
The number of homeless children is our schools is increasing. As a result, schools are calling us regarding the documentation needed for a food allergy, or other serious health issue when the family doesn't have health insurance and cannot provide the required documentation of the child's medical situation. While the school can choose to accommodate something like a vegetarian meal (student choice) without much concern, it is a much different situation when a child has a special dietary need or disability.
As the economic situation worsens, the number of homeless families will continue to grow. This proves to be an extremely tough situation for children and schools. However, in the end, the school needs to have documentation from a doctor for any disability or food allergy.
When dealing with a medical situation, the school should work with the student's family, the school nurse, and the homeless liaison or coordinator to find a medical doctor or recognized medical authority, as appropriate, to prove the required information. It is a precarious situation to serve someone without the knowledge provided by this documentation. The school could possibly accept last year's documentation or the documentation from another school in the case of a transferred student.
Please call the office at 518-473-8781 with any questions or concerns.