Answer: In this context, if you are sharing personally-identifiable information with anyone outside the school system, you need parental consent under FERPA. You also need to make sure the collaboration and information-sharing don’t erect barriers to identification, enrollment or retention in school, under McKinney-Vento. For example, if a student does not want to be referred to a particular program or does not want information shared, and your collaboration could “scare” him away from school or make him not identify himself as homeless, that’s an illegal barrier under McKinney-Vento.

It’s always fine for you to provide a student or parent with information about available services. It’s also fine to offer to make the connection, and if the parent accepts, that is your consent. It’s probably best to get that in writing, though, in the form of a simple one-page consent.

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