Answer: Under FERPA, it depends on a few things. First, is the Head Start program administered by the school district?  If so, you can share the information, because you are sharing it with another district official for a legitimate educational reason. If not, do the letters only provide information about young children who are not actually enrolled in your district?  If so, you can share the information, because you aren’t actually sharing information about a “student” or from a “student education record.” FERPA only covers education records of current or former students. If you are only saying that a child who is not a student with you is homeless, FERPA does not cover that.

If neither of those exceptions apply, you do need parental consent to share that a student enrolled in your district is homeless, with an agency outside your district.  That consent could take the form of a simple email or even text saying you can share that information.  It also could be a checkbox you add to any forms that your McKinney-Vento families fill out. More information is available at

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