The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was reauthorized in December 2015 by Title IX, Part A, of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). It is the first and only major federal legislative response to homelessness. It ensures educational rights for children and youth experiencing homelessness.
Who are they?
Children who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime abode are eligible for McKinney-Vento services. In general, children or youth living in motels, transitional housing, shelters, the street, cars, abandoned buildings, and other inadequate accommodations may be considered eligible for McKinney-Vento services. This includes, but is not limited to, the following groups:
- Doubled-up Children: Living with another family due to lack of a permanent residence
- Children in shelters: Including transitional living programs
- Children living in motels: Due to lack of alternative adequate living situation
- Migratory children: If accommodations are not fit for habitation
- Runaways*: Children who are left home and live in a shelter or inadequate accommodations, even if parents are willing to provide a home
- Lockouts*: Children whose parents or guardians will not permit them to live at home
*These two categories are unaccompanied homeless youth. These children are not in the physical custody of their parents or court-ordered guardians and lack a fixed, regular, and adequate abode.
What are their rights?
The Education for Homeless Children and Youth program, which is part of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, ensures that eligible children have the following rights:
- Choice of school: Children eligible for McKinney-Vento services may attend their school of origin (school last attended or school attended when child lost permanent housing) or attend the school that serves their temporary living situation (choice of caregiver)
- Immediate enrollment: Even if medical or other records, birth certificates, or transcripts cannot be produced at time of enrollment
- Transportation: Transportation must be provided, if requested
- Preschool: Priority consideration to preschool programs for eligible youngsters
- Free lunch & fee waivers: Categorically eligible for free lunch
- Supplemental tutoring: If needed
- Waiver of all required student fees through the school district's financial assistance program.
- Bus transportation to and from school.
- Breakfast and lunch each school day.
- Services from the Glenbrook School Health Center at no charge.