McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Overview

Under this program, local educational agencies (LEAs) must ensure that each McKinney-Vento-eligible child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as other children and youth. Eligible children and youth should have access to education and other services that they need to enable them to meet the same challenging State student academic achievement standards to which all students are held. In addition, eligible students may not be separated from the mainstream school environment. States and districts are required to review and undertake steps to revise laws, regulations, practices, or policies that may act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance, or success in school of homeless children and youth. The Act also requires school districts to appoint a district liaison to ensure students are identified, immediately enrolled, and connected with appropriate services.

Definition of Homeless

The term “homeless children and youth”

  1. means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence
  2. includes:
    1. children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals
    2. 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
    3. children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned building, substandard housing*, bus or train stations, or similar settings and
    4. migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).

*The US Department of Education has provided guidance on substandard housing: “In determining whether a child or youth is living in “substandard housing,” an LEA may consider whether the setting in which the family, child, or youth is living lacks one of the fundamental utilities such as water, electricity, or heat; is infested with vermin or mold; lacks a basic functional part, such as a working kitchen or a working toilet; or may present unreasonable dangers to adults, children, or persons with disabilities. Each city, county, or State may have its own housing codes that further define the kind of housing that may be deemed substandard.”

McKinney-Vento Rights

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act ensures the educational rights and protections of homeless children and youth so that they may enroll in school, attend regularly, and be successful. This act guarantees McKinney-Vento eligible children and youth the following rights:

  • immediate enrollment in school, even if lacking paperwork normally required for enrollment.

  • attend school in his/her school of origin (if this is requested by the parent and is reasonable) or in the school in the attendance area where the family or youth is currently residing.

  • receive transportation to his/her school of origin, if this is requested by the parent or unaccompanied youth.

  • services comparable to those received by housed schoolmates, including transportation and supplemental educational services.

  • attend school along with children not experiencing homelessness.

Services Offered

  • Tutoring or supplemental instructional support

  • Expedited evaluations or testing

  • Free lunch

  • Referrals for medical, dental and other health services

  • Transportation if needed and/or qualify

  • Early childhood education programs if needed/or qualify

  • Obtaining or transferring records necessary for enrollment

  • Parent education related to rights and resources

  • Coordination between schools and service agencies

  • Comparable services and participation in all school activities

  • School supplies

  • Counseling and referrals for Domestic Violence issues

  • Needs that student may have due to Domestic Violence

  • Emergency assistance to enable student to attend school