The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

  • The education provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act, which are now incorporated within Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), ensure educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness. The law directly applies to homeless unaccompanied youth who also receive some special attention within the Act.

    The Act's Key Provisions

    The McKinney-Vento Act (Section 725) specifies and protects the rights of children and youth in homeless situations. Highlights include:

    • Immediate Enrollment - The right to be enrolled immediately in school, without immunization or academic records, and birth certificate, regardless of district policy.

    • Choice of Schools - A student experiencing homelessness has two choices in deciding which school to attend:
      • The school of origin (the school the student attended when he/she became homeless).
      • The school in the zone where the student is currently residing.
         
    • Transportation - Students in highly mobile or homeless situations are entitled to transportation to and from the school of origin, if it is feasible, in the student's best interest, and requested by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth.
       
    • Services - Students experiencing homelessness are entitled to the same programs and services that are available to other children in the District, such as gifted and talented education, special education, vocational education, English Language Learner services, and tutoring. Students are automatically eligible for Title I services and Districts must set aside funds as necessary to provide services.
       
    • Dispute Resolution - If problems arise between the school and parents or between districts, the parent shall be referred to the school's homeless liaison. In the meantime, the student must remain in school and receive transportation.