Ethical Considerations in Working With Unaccompanied and

Report
Ethical Considerations in
Working With Unaccompanied
and Homeless Youth
Ethical Considerations for Working with
Unaccompanied and Homeless Youth
AGENDA
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Definitions
Identify unaccompanied youth needs
and challenging situations
Identify common ethical issues when
working with homeless unaccompanied
youth
Identify common ethical standards
Identify possible solutions & application
of ethical practice
Are unaccompanied students
homeless?
Unaccompanied: students not with a
parent or legal guardian
If they meet the same
criteria for homelessness as other
Students
Often doubled-up, “couch surfing”
Definition of Homeless Youth?
Must meet the McKinney-Vento definition of homeless: Children and
youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence:
– Doubled up -sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing,
economic hardship, or similar reason, “couch surfing”
– Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to lack
of adequate alternative accommodations
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Living in emergency or transitional shelters
Abandoned in hospitals
Awaiting foster care placement
Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live
– Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, etc.
– Migratory children living in above circumstances
– Children of deployed military whose “plan” breaks down
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Who Are Homeless Unaccompanied
Youth?
• Must not be in the physical custody of a parent or legal
guardian
• Is there an age limit on serving homeless secondary
students?
MV applies to all school-aged youth (as defined by state
law); typically states allow youth to attend school up to the
age of 21 – in Texas this has been extended to age 26 in
certain circumstances
TEA defines unaccompanied as under age 21 on September
1 of the school year – How does your state define
unaccompanied for educational purposes?
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Runaway YOUTH ARE HOMELESS
Runaway, pushed out,
and unaccompanied youth
are a growing proportion of
children in homeless situations
They often know what they are running
from, but have no realistic idea of what
they
are running to.
These youth are vulnerable to
exploitation
Why are Youth Homeless on Their Own?
• Over half of callers to Runaway Hotline report being
physically abused at home; over one-third report
sexual abuse; over two-thirds report that at least one
of their parents abuses drugs or alcohol
• Other youth are thrown out of their homes because
they are pregnant, gay or lesbian, or because their
parents believe they are old enough to take care of
themselves
• Some children and youth are abandoned by their
parents, or are on their own due to death of parents
• Some children and youth are in unstable living
situations due to parental incarceration, illness, or
hospitalization
Why are Youth Homeless on Their Own?
• Over half of youth living in shelters report that their
parents either told them to leave, or knew they were
leaving and did not care
• Some youth become homeless with their families,
but, due to lack of space in doubled-up or motel
situations, end up homeless on their own
• Natural disasters cause youth to be separated from
family during their homelessness
• Aging out of foster care into homelessness; running
away from foster care placements due to abuse in
the foster home, or to reconnect with siblings and
family
Impact of Homelessness on UHY
• Higher rates of acute and chronic illness, depression and anxiety;
experiences of trauma and loss
• For unaccompanied youth, lack of support from any caring adult leads
to faulty decision making
• Unaccompanied youth are frequently victimized. As many as half
have been assaulted or robbed; one in ten runaways reports being
raped – likely a low report
• According to the National Runaway Switchboard, 5,000
unaccompanied youth die each year from assault, illness, or suicide
• Perform lower on academic assessments
• 50% of homeless youth & 75% of unaccompanied homeless youth do
not graduate
Signs of Homelessness
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Tired, sleeping in class, lack of energy
Poor hygiene
Wear the same clothes day after day
Inability to concentrate
Doesn’t turn in homework assignments
Doesn’t complete special projects
Is frequently tardy or absent
Comes to class “unprepared”
Change in behavior
Is angry, hostile, anxious
Is secretive, afraid to share information
Moves around a lot
Grades fall off, gaps in learning
Barriers to Education
• High mobility: 41% will attend at least two different
schools; 28% will attend three or more
• Unaccompanied youth: lack of a parent or guardian to
sign forms
• Lack of school records and other paperwork
• Lack of transportation
• Lack of school supplies, clothing
• Credit accrual policies, attendance policies
• Low expectations by family, school
• Lack of stable housing
• Emotional crisis / mental health issues
• Employment - need to balance school and work
• Fatigue, poor health, hunger
• Concerns about being captured by authorities
RECAP MV: Must schools enroll children and
youth in school if there is no proof of guardianship?
Yes.
• Lack of guardianship papers cannot delay or prevent
enrollment. Enrolled is defined as attending and fully
participating. School districts may establish their own
policies to meet this mandate.
– HOWEVER…
• Schools/districts cannot require individuals/caretakers to
obtain guardianship of youth after enrollment, or within a
specified number of days, in order for youth to remain
enrolled and attending. How does your
state/district handle this?
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RECAP: Must schools enroll children and youth in
school if there is no proof of residence?
Yes.
• Lack of proof of residence cannot delay or prevent
enrollment. School districts may establish their own
policies to meet this mandate.
– HOWEVER…
• Schools/districts cannot require proof of residency from
those in homeless situations.
• Cannot require dual residency affidavits
• How does your state/district handle these “proofs”
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RECAP: Must schools enroll children and youth in
school without previous school records?
Yes.
• Lack of school records cannot delay or prevent
enrollment. The enrolling school district must send to the
previous district for the records.
– And…
• The previous district has 10 days in which to send the
records. If the student has not been withdrawn
previously, he/she is to be withdrawn from the previous
district when they receive this request for records – how
does your state/district handle this?
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RECAP: Must schools enroll children and youth in
school without immunizations or immunization
records?
Yes.
• Lack of immunizations or immunization records cannot
delay or prevent enrollment of students in homeless
situations. The enrolling school district must send to the
previous district for the records. Immunization records
should be sent with the other school records, but must be
presented within 30 days.
– or…
• If the student does not have his/or her immunizations, the
Homeless Liaison must make arrangements for the
student to begin them within 30 days. How does your
state/district handle this?
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What obligation does a school have to help
unaccompanied youth make up lost credits?
• Many youth lose credits due to mobility and
absences—consequences of homelessness
• McKinney-Vento requires that schools and
districts remove barriers to enrollment and
retention and provide academic support—
LEA policies should be revised
• Youth should be provided academic support
through tutoring, programs with cooperating
universities, or online courses, for example;
appropriate use of Title I set aside funds
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Who can make decisions for an unaccompanied
youth regarding participation in extra curricular
activities, field trips, etc.?
• States and school districts have
implemented a variety of policies and
procedures
– Youth make decisions on their own
– Local liaison makes decisions
– Caregiver forms allow other adults to make
decisions – act in the role of a parent
– Schools assign a surrogate
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Unaccompanied Youth Are Often
Homeless Too
What are some of your biggest
challenges when working with
Unaccompanied Homeless Youth?
What are some ethical issues you
encounter?
What Ethical Considerations might
arise when assisting
• UHY to access the various services within
your district?
• Within the community?
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Common Ethical Issues
When Working with UHY
Consent?
Confidentiality?
Who is the client?
Common Ethical Issues
When Working with UHY
Record keeping & documentation
Boundaries
Trust building
Leaving youth in unsafe situations
Ethical Practices &
Concerns
Allowing youth self determination
Addressing unsafe behavior
Contacting parent or guardian
Ethical Practices &
Concerns
Sharing information with schools,
CPS, other service providers
Maintaining boundaries and trust
building
Meeting in Non-traditional settings
Ben and Cherry
What are the barriers cited by
the youth in this video?
What are some of the ethical
considerations when working
with the youth in this video?
Ben and Cherry
What are the barriers cited by
the youth in this video?
What are some of the ethical
considerations when working
with the youth in this video?
Common situations that have ethical implications when
working with youth
Meeting with youth in “non-traditional” settings
Mistaking friendship for appropriate trust building
Keeping Confidentiality – to whom to tell what? When the youth
says “Don’t tell anyone.”
Reporting abuse and neglect – concerns for youth safety
Reporting runaway – concerns for youth safety
Addressing risky behaviors – if you do, will they leave?
Giving Money, taking kids home, leaving youth in unsafe setting
Failing to report or to act on information shared
Dealing with “I only trust you” with certain information
Is adolescence synonymous with “borderline personality?”
Common ethical principles when working with youth
• Dissonance: when your values differ from those of your client, your
agency, your professional licensure, society at large. Example:
abortion, HIV services, GLBT, etc.
• Confidentiality: issues with confidentiality that can particularly occur
within residential, street, and home-based settings - who should
be present when a home visit is occurring? What happens when other
residents overhear information about a particular client? How do
different agencies safeguard against this? Who needs to know which
information?
• Referral: how to access other services for a client, without sharing
confidential information? How to know when to access a referral, and
how much information to share?
• Boundaries: are frequent issues within residential, community,
and home- based settings, and when working with unaccompanied
youth.
Common ethical principles when working with youth
• Agency or professional policies and/or practices that are
particularly helpful in addressing ethics conflicts.
• Do no harm – Understanding competencies: What tells social
workers that they are working beyond their competence?
• Dual Relationships – business, social, relative, friends, etc.
• Language – What workers see and what they say frames the work
for possibilities or barriers; labels, or enables the client.
• Informed consent – self consent for unaccompanied youth? At what
age?
• Crisis work – what happens when you are in crisis mode? Does
“business as usual” go out the door and what does this mean for
ethical
• When are practitioners crossing ethical lines? When are boundaries
fluid and when are they rigid? What information is too much to share,
and what is not enough? Who does the youth worker look to for
guidance in making ethical decisions in his/her work? How do crisis
situations challenge ethical standards? Reporting, trust loss if you do;
when safety and rapport building seem to be at odds.
Unaccompanied Youth—Key Provisions
• Liaisons must help unaccompanied youth
choose and enroll in a school, after
considering the youth’s wishes, and inform
the youth of his or her appeal rights – school
of origin is the first consideration
• School personnel must be made aware of the
specific needs of runaway and homeless
youth.
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What about discipline and a homeless
student?
Generally students in homeless situations must
follow the same rules of behavior as all other
students, but
If discipline action was taken against a youth for
reasons related to homelessness (for example,
excessive absences caused by homelessness),
the youth must not be penalized or denied
enrollment and the policy should be revised
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Do schools have to contact the police
when enrolling unaccompanied youth?
• State law determines the obligation of a school
liaison or service provider to alert other agencies
about unaccompanied youth
• Most state laws that address this issue (including
Texas) permit, but do not require, schools to report
unaccompanied youth; many laws also give schools
the option to contact social services instead of the
police
• The school district should work with police and social
services regarding mandatory reporting to ensure
that care is exercised to keep a youth in school and
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serve his/her best interest
How does your district or
organization handle:
• Lack of parental signature for field trips,
playing sports, other activities, services?
• Who goes on the contact form?
• Who receives school notices & reports?
• Who gets called in case of illness, a behavior
issue, or an emergency?
• Who is held accountable for poor school
attendance?
• Who requests and attends an ARD?
What about school liability or parental
disapproval?
Liability is based on the concept of
negligence, or a failure to exercise
reasonable care — following federal law
and providing appropriate services are
evidence of reasonable care
School districts must follow MV and state
laws
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Can unaccompanied youth consent to
their own medical treatment?
• Generally, only persons age 18 and over can
consent to their own medical, dental, and health
care; minors need consent of a parent or
guardian – state laws vary
• The Texas Family Code gives youth 16 or older who are
independent of parents the right to consent to their own
medical treatment.
• Texas Students of any age can access certain
health and mental health services under certain
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circumstances, i.e., in cases of abuse
Situations/Dilemmas
Work as a group:
Identify the youth’s needs,
Identify the challenges in meeting those needs
Identify resources
Identify the:
ethical principles
ethical issues or concerns
ethical practices
Scenario One: Jeremy
Jeremy, 15, recently showed up with his friend,
Billy, at Vento High School, where you are the
Principal. He explained to you that he was staying
with Billy for awhile, and wanted to go to this school
instead of the school he was attending, McKinney
High, which is in a different district. After some
pressing, he explained that he had been kicked out of
his home by his mom and stepfather. He said they
knew where he was and “didn’t care.”
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Jeremy
• Is Jeremy “homeless” under McKinney- Vento? Why or Why
not?
• What school(s) is Jeremy eligible to attend?
• How does the McKinney-Vento Act pertain to this situation?
What services is Jeremy eligible for?
• Is there any responsibility in district policy or state or federal law
to report Jeremy’s whereabouts?
• To whom are you supposed to report him and when?
• Does it make a difference if he tells you his mom hits him?
• What would be your responsibility if Jeremy’s parents contacted
you and told you that he had left home without permission?
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Jeremy
• What if Jeremy’s parents say they have reported him as a
runaway, and they want him home? They ask you not to enroll
him? How would you handle this?
• How would you code Jeremy in PEIMS? If his parents do not
want him identified as homeless would you then not code him,
or change his code?
• What if he was staying with a friend without the friend’s parental
permission?
• What would you do to support this young person? What
strategies would you use and what resources would tap?
• How would you work with your district to create the changes that
are needed so situations like this can be responded to
appropriately for all students who experience them?
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Situations/Dilemmas
Work as a group:
Identify the youth’s needs,
Identify the challenges in meeting those needs
Identify resources
Identify the:
ethical principles
ethical issues or concerns
ethical practices
Scenario Two: Antwan
Antwan is a 14 year old first time 9th grader who has
attended school for most of his life in the largest urban
school district in the city (district of origin). He has been
served in Special Education classrooms and has an IEP
that just expired.
His mother, legal guardian, has a significant history of
drug abuse and has been missing for most of the
summer. Antwan resided with various family members
throughout the summer, and two weeks into the new
school year finally ends up with a family member, Aunt,
who seems willing to provide some stability. She
resides in a bordering district (district of residence).
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Scenario Two: Antwan
She has attempted to enroll Antwan in the 9th grade at the local
high school but has been denied due to lack of custody. Aunt does
not know where Antwan’s legal guardian, Mother, is at this time
and no other family members have had contact with her for weeks.
Aunt is not sure if she is willing, or able, to take custody of Antwan
at this time, but wants him to attend school.
She has been told by the district in which she resides that she will
have to file for custody of Antwan before they will enroll him in
school and show them paperwork with a court date. They have also
indicated that she will need to have an updated IEP before Antwan
can actually begin attending school.
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Scenario Two Antwan
• Is Antwan “homeless” under McKinney- Vento? Why or Why
not?
• Which school is Antwan eligible to attend?
• How does the McKinney-Vento Act pertain to this situation?
• What services is Antwan eligible for?
• What IDEA provisions apply to Antwan’s situation?
• Can the school require the Aunt to get legal guardianship?
• What might be the impediments to the Aunt being able to get
guardianship?
• Are there any kinship services that might be available to the
aunt?
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Scenario Two: Antwan
• Would you need to report the situation if Antwan tells you his
mother was abusive, even though he is safe with his nonabusive aunt now?
• What would be your responsibility if Antwan’s mother contacted
you and told you that she had not given permission for Antwan
to live with his aunt?
• What would you do to support this young person? What
strategies would you use and what resources would you tap?
• How would you work with your district to create the changes that
are needed so situations like this can be responded to
appropriately for all students who experience them?
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Situations/Dilemmas
Work as a group:
Identify the youth’s needs,
Identify the challenges in meeting those needs
Identify resources
Identify the:
ethical principles
ethical issues or concerns
ethical practices
Scenario 3: Tina
Alice has a friend, Judy, who has been keeping her
granddaughter, Tina, age 15, while her son is
incarcerated. Alice’s friend has a medical issue
requiring her hospitalization. Judy asks Alice to take
the child in while she is hospitalized. Alice takes the
child to the high school near her home to enroll her.
The registrar tells Alice she will have to return when
the Administrator is there to fill out the “homeless”
paperwork. She gives Alice a guardianship form to
get her friend’s son to sign. It also has to be
notarized.
Alice explains that her friend’s son is incarcerated
some distance away. Alice cannot go get his
signature. She cannot take off work to come in
another day to sign paperwork.
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Scenario 3: Tina
The registrar tells her Alice she has no choice she will
simply have to return in three days to meet with the
administrator. Alice calls three days later only to find
that the administrator is not expected in that day, and
the receptionist doesn’t know for sure when he will be
in. She tells Alice to call daily, and reasserts that only
this administrator can do the paperwork with Alice.
She also inquires as to whether Alice has gotten the
guardianship paper signed by her son.
Is Tina MV eligible?
Is Tina Unaccompanied?
What barriers can you identify in this situation?
How should they be remedied?
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Situations/Dilemmas
Work as a group:
Identify the youth’s needs,
Identify the challenges in meeting those needs
Identify resources
Identify the:
ethical principles
ethical issues or concerns
ethical practices
Scenario Four: Miranda
Miranda, who is 17 years old, arrives at Oak
High School in early November seeking to
enroll in school. She informs you, the school
district homeless liaison, that she left home four
months ago because she just couldn’t stay
there anymore. She is reluctant to share any
other information about why she no longer
wants to live with her mother, who is her
custodial parent. She informs you that her
father died 5 years ago.
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Scenario 4 : Miranda
Miranda has been sleeping on the couch of a
friend who resides in your district and within the
attendance zone of Oak High School. Before
Miranda’s name reached your desk, the
registrar called her mother who informed the
school that Miranda could come home anytime
she wants. However, the mother didn’t really
seem to care if Miranda lived at home or not—
she doesn’t really plan to do anything about the
fact that Miranda left. Miranda is steadfast
about not going home and about enrolling in
Oak High.
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Scenario 4: Miranda
She only needs two more semesters of credit to
graduate. Unfortunately, she has barely
attended classes since the school year began
two months ago. She says she intended to
continue in her school of origin, but she was
unaware of her McKinney-Vento rights and
thought she had to use public transportation to
get there. Somehow she just never had the
money so was only present for 7 days this
semester.
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Miranda
• Is Miranda “homeless” under McKinney- Vento? Why or Why
not?
• How does the McKinney-Vento Act pertain to this situation?
What services is Miranda eligible for?
• Is there any responsibility in district policy or state or federal law
to report Miranda’s whereabouts?
• To whom are you supposed to report her and when?
• Does it make a difference if she tells you her mom hits her?
• What would be your responsibility if Miranda’s parents
contacted you and told you that she had run away without
permission?
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Miranda
• What if she was staying with a friend without the
friend’s parental permission?
• What would you do to support this young person?
What strategies would you use and what resources
would tap?
• Would Miranda be eligible to play basketball at Oak
High?
• How would you work with your district to create the
changes that are needed so situations like this can
be responded to appropriately for all students who
experience them?
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Situations/Dilemmas
Work as a group:
Identify the youth’s needs,
Identify the challenges in meeting those needs
Identify resources
Identify the:
ethical principles
ethical issues or concerns
ethical practices
Tips for a coordinated approach to addressing
the needs of unaccompanied youth
• Revise LEA policies to accommodate
unaccompanied youth and comply with the
McKinney-Vento Act.
• Train LEA homeless liaisons and all school
enrollment staff, secretaries, guidance counselors,
principals and teachers on the definition, rights and
needs of unaccompanied youth.
• Develop caretaker forms, self-enrollment forms for
unaccompanied youth, and other forms to replace
typical proof of guardianship. Such forms should be
carefully crafted so they do not create further barriers
or delay enrollment.
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Tips for a coordinated approach to addressing
the needs of unaccompanied youth
• Provide unaccompanied youth the opportunity to
enroll in diversified learning opportunities, such as
vocational education, credit-for-work programs and
flexible school hours.
• Provide a “safe place” and trained mentor at school,
for unaccompanied youth to access as needed.
• Permit flexible exceptions to school policies on class
schedules, tardiness, absences and credits to
accommodate the needs of unaccompanied youth.
• Build relationships with legal services for trainings,
updates, advocacy for individual students in noneducational areas.
• Provide opportunities for extra curricular activities.
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Who can make decisions related to special
education for an unaccompanied youth?
• IDEA requires LEAs to appoint surrogate
parents for unaccompanied homeless youth
within 30 days – expands the definition of parent
• IDEA regulations permit staff members of
emergency shelters, transitional shelters,
independent living programs and outreach
programs to serve as temporary surrogate
parents for unaccompanied homeless youth
• Districts should have a surrogacy program to
train potential surrogates. They cannot be
employees of the school district
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Tips for finding legal services
providers for children and youth
• www.abanet.org/litigation/committee/childrens_l/directory
.pdf
• www.lsc.gov/about/grantee_links.php
• www.ptla.org/links.htm#services
• www.jlc.org
• www.youthlaw.org
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What national groups can help?
• National Runaway Switchboard
www.nrscrisisline.org
• National Network for Youth
www.nn4youth.org
• Runaway and Homeless Youth Act Program,
U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services
www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/fysb/content/yout
hdivision/index.htm
• The Texas Homeless Education Office
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www.utdanacenter.org/theo
Questions?
Thank You!
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Thanks to:
• Diana Bowman, 336-315-7453, [email protected] (Web:
www.serve.org/nche)
• Barbara Duffield, [email protected], 202-364-7392 (Web:
www.naehcy.org)
• Patricia Julianelle, [email protected]
Information on working with unaccompanied, homeless youth in
this slide presentation
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Texas Homeless
Education Office
The University of Texas at Austin
Charles A. Dana Center
2901 N IH 35, Room 2.200
Austin, Texas 78722
Jeanne Stamp: 512-475-6898
[email protected]
Region 10 ESC
1-800-446-3142
http://www.utdanacenter.org/theo
USDE

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