Students have certain rights or protection under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.
The McKinney-Vento Act identifies homeless students as “Children who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence” due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason. This includes preschool age children, school age children, and youth living on their own (unaccompanied youth -not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian).
Children and youth on their own may qualify for assistance under the McKinney-Vento Act, if they or their family lives in any of the following situations:
· Temporarily sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason.
· Living in motels, hotels, or camping grounds due to lack of adequate accommodations.
· Living in emergency or transitional shelters, such as group homes, runaway shelters and domestic violence shelters.
· Awaiting foster care placement.
· Living in cars, parks, public places, abandoned buildings, or similar settings.
· Abandoned in hospitals.
· Living in housing that is substandard or inadequate.
Students in homeless situations must have the opportunity to meet the same high academic achievement standards as all students. This is why it is so critical that homeless children and youth receive all the educational services for which they are eligible:
· Be given access to the same public education provided to other children, including preschool education.
· Continue in their school of origin or school of residence, if feasible.
· Enroll and attend classes while the school arranges for the transfer of school and immunization records or any other documents required for enrollment.
· Receive transportation, if feasible, to the school of origin.
· Automatic enrollment in the National Free and Reduced Lunch Program.
· Based on need: Receive services including Head Start Programs, Title I, English Language Learner, and Special Education.
What is the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act?
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act is a federal law aimed at providing homeless children and youth with an equal opportunity to succeed in school. It was originally authorized in 1987 by the Reagan administration, and reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The intent of the law is to break the cycle of poverty and to address the problems that homeless students face in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in schools. The McKinney-Vento law applies to all public and charter schools.
The major provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act are:
· Each school district must designate a liaison for homeless students.
· Homeless students can stay at their school of origin (the school they attended when they were permanently housed/last enrolled) or their school of residence the entire time they are homeless and until the end of any academic year in which they move into permanent housing.
· Schools must immediately enroll homeless children and youth regardless of missing documentation.
· Schools must provide homeless students transportation to and from their school of origin, if feasible.
· Homeless children and youth are not stigmatized or segregated on the basis of their status.
Much is being done to help homeless children and youth maintain a stable educational environment and have a successful school experience.