The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, in effect since 1987, is a federal law that ensures immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth. The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence."
The act provides examples of children who would fall under this definition:
- Children and youth living with other families or relatives (“doubled up”) due to loss of housing.
- Children and youth living in hotels and motels.
- Children and youth living in emergency or domestic violence shelters.
- Children and youth living in transitional housing.
- Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations and other locations that are not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation.
- Children and youth living without the support of parents/guardians (unaccompanied youth).
- Children and youth awaiting foster care placement.
- Are migratory children living in conditions described in previous examples
Homeless Students' Rights:
- Right to continue at School Of Origin, the school they attended before becoming homeless, or the school in which they were last enrolled.
- Right to Immediate Enrollment even if they lack normally required documents, such as immunization records or proof of residence.
- Right to receive transportation to and from their school of origin, if it is in the child's or youth's best interest.
- Free nutrition services.
- Assistance with School Fees: including field trips, physical education fees, lab fees and other school fees.
- Assistance in obtaining extra academic supports and school supplies.
- Assistance with connecting to social service agencies in the community.
The Homeless Student Liaison acts as a link between family, shelter, school system and community resources to coordinate educational services for homeless students. The Liaison renews and/or develops an awareness and sensitivity to the needs of homeless children and youth among school system and community services personnel through presentations and other activities. The ultimate role of the Liaison is to eliminate barriers to school enrollment, attendance and academic success for each child.
For more information regarding services for homeless youth in the District, please contact:
Edie M. Fiala, Homeless Student Liaison