The McKinney-Vento Act (42 U.S.C. § 11431 et seq.) is a federal law ensuring the children and youth experiencing homelessness and the educational struggles brought about by homelessness. Children and youth experiencing homelessness are entitled to enroll, stay in, be transported to, and succeed in public school. ACS is committed to our students and families experiencing homelessness and removing their barriers and obstacles to enrollment.
The law includes students experiencing (but not limited to) these temporary living situations:
- Living with a friend or relative due to a loss in housing
- Living in a motel/hotel due to loss in housing or escaping domestic violence
- Staying in transitional housing, emergency housing, or domestic violence shelters
- Temporary living in substandard housing
- Living in inadequate trailer home or campground
- Living in a park, car, abandoned building or bus station
- Run away youth (may or may not be staying in a homeless youth shelter)
42 USC § 11431 – STATEMENT OF POLICY the following is policy of the Congress:
(1) 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.
(2) 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.
(3) Homelessness alone is not sufficient reason to separate students from the mainstream school environment.
(4) 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.