Rights of Homeless Children
A homeless student is any displaced child or youth who is living in a shelter, motel, inadequate trailer or house, is staying temporarily with relatives or friends due to economic hardship or loss of housing, or is living in any other homeless situation. Determinations of eligibility for services are made on a case-by-case basis due to the various circumstances experienced by families of homeless children and unaccompanied youth. It is the responsibility of the local homeless education liaison and/or enrollment staff to gather and analyze information to make an expedient and appropriate determination.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
The Homeless Education program is authorized under Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC 11431 et seq.). The McKinney-Vento Act was enacted to address the numerous barriers homeless children face in obtaining a free, appropriate public education. The program was originally authorized in 1987 and, most recently, reauthorized as Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The Act ensures educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness including the following:
- The right to immediate enrollment in school, even if lacking paperwork normally required for enrollment.
- The right to attend school in his/her school of origin, if in the child or youth’s best interest, or if the school in the attendance area where the family or youth is currently residing.
- The right to receive transportation to his/her school of origin, if this is requested by the parent or unaccompanied youth.
- The right to services comparable to those received by household schoolmates, including transportation and supplemental educational services.
- The right to attend school along with children not experiencing homelessness. Segregation based on a student's status as homeless is strictly prohibited.
- The posting of homeless students’ rights in all schools and other places around the community.