1. Definition of the McKinney-Vento Act and who qualifies
If you lost your housing and now live in a shelter, motel, vehicle, camping ground, or temporary trailer; on the street; doubled-up with family or friends; or in another type of temporary or inadequate housing, your child might be able to receive help through a federal law called the McKinney-Vento Act. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of federal legislation dealing with the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is also known as Title X, Part C, of the No Child Left Behind Act.
2. Parent/Unaccompanied Youth rights
Under the McKinney-Vento Act, children in homeless situations have the right to:
- Go to school, no matter where they live or how long they have lived there.
- Attend either the local school or the school of origin, if this is in their best interest; the school of origin is the school the child attended when he/she was permanently housed or the school in which the child was last enrolled.
- Receive transportation to and from the school of origin.
- Enroll in school immediately, even if missing records and documents normally required for enrollment, such as a birth certificate, proof of residence, previous school records, or immunization/medical records.
- Enroll, attend classes, and participate fully in all school activities while the school gathers records.
- Have access to the same programs and services that are available to all other students, including transportation and supplemental educational services.
- Attend school with children not experiencing homelessness; a school can not segregate a student because he or she is homeless
3. What questions should I ask regarding services under McKinney-Vento?
- Who is the local homeless education liaison? How can I contact him or her?
- What transportation is available for my child to stay in the same school (the school of origin)?
- If my child changes schools, who can help us transfer records quickly?
- How can my child receive free meals at school?
- How can my child receive free school supplies, if needed?
- Who can help if my child needs special education services? How quickly can these services be set up?
- What academic help is available for my child, such as Title I programs or after-school tutoring?
- What programs can help develop my child’s talents and address his/her unique needs?
- Are there sports, music, or other activities available for my child?
- How can my child go on class field trips or participate in other school activities if I can’t pay for them?
- Is there a preschool program for my younger children?