The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law passed to help families who are homeless keep their children in school.
42 USC § 11431 – STATEMENT OF POLICY
The following is policy of the Congress:
- Each State educational agency shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.
- In any State that has a compulsory residency requirement as a component of the State’s compulsory school attendance laws or other laws, regulations, practices, or policies that may act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance, or success in school of homeless children and youths, the State will review and undertake steps to revise such laws, regulations, practices, or policies to ensure that homeless children and youths are afforded the same free, appropriate public education as provided to other children and youths.
- Homelessness alone is not sufficient reason to separate students from the mainstream school environment.
- Homeless children and youths should have access to the education and other services that such children and youths need to ensure that such children and youths have an opportunity to meet the same challenging State student academic achievement standards to which all students are held.
Eligibility Under McKinney-Vento:
Children or youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence including:
- Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations
- Living in emergency or transitional shelters
- Living in a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings
- Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
- Migratory children living in the above circumstances
- Unaccompanied youth living in the above circumstances
Parent/Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Rights:
Unaccompanied homeless youth are ensured the same educational rights that the McKinney-Vento Act provides for other homeless students, which include the right to:
- Enroll immediately, even if they do not currently have paperwork normally required for enrollment.
- Attend either the local attendance area school or the school of origin, with the placement decision based on the student’s best interest.
- Remain in the school of origin for the duration of the homelessness or until the end of the school year in which the student becomes permanently housed.
- Receive transportation to and from the school of origin.
- Receive educational services, such as free school meals, Title I services, participate in gifted and talented programs, vocational education, alternative education, and any other services comparable to what housed students receive.
- Not be stigmatized or segregated on the basis of their status as homeless.
In addition to the provisions that apply to all homeless students, the McKinney-Vento Act includes the following provisions specifically for unaccompanied homeless youth:
- Unaccompanied homeless youth shall be immediately enrolled without proof of guardianship.
- During a dispute over school selection or enrollment, unaccompanied homeless youth shall receive a written statement explaining the school’s decision, the youth’s right to appeal the decision, and a referral to the local liaison.
NCHEP Youth Educational Rights Posters (English & Spanish)
NCHEP Parent Educational Rights Posters (English & Spanish)
Local Liaisons shall assist unaccompanied homeless youth in:
- Selecting a school of attendance and enrolling in school.
- Requesting transportation to and from the school of origin.
- Enrolling in school immediately while disputes are resolved.
For questions and/or additional information, please contact one of the two individuals listed below. Direct immediate questions regarding eligibility and services to Jesse Mitchell.
Jesse Mitchell, IC Imagine McKinney-Vento Liaison
Lisa Phillips, State Coordinator for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & RESOURCES
- IC Imagine McKinney-Vento Dispute Resolution Policy
- National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
- National Coalition for the Homeless
- National Center for Homeless Education
- National Homeless Data
- North Carolina Data
- SERVE Center at UNCG
- NCHEP “About”