Rights of Homeless Children

Updated on Thu, 04/07/2016 - 10:33am

Determining Eligibility

The McKinney-Vento Homelessness Act defines “homeless children and youths” as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.” 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 McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires that all school districts make special accommodations to ensure access to school for children whose families are “homeless.” The definition of "homeless" includes not only the classical notions of living in a tent or car, but also families that lack a regular abode (e.g. in a refugee type settlement, or placed in a motel/hotel by FEMA or other agency) or who are temporarily doubled up with another family. A homeless child must be promptly enrolled, provided full access to classes, be afforded transportation if needed and cannot be discriminated against, or placed in a segregated school, based on their status. Some displaced families from areas other than New Orleans may end up in locations not far from their original residence, but outside the boundary of their home school. The McKinney-Vento Act expressly provides such children the option to attend their home school (if it is still operating). State education agencies (SEA’s) have responsibility to ensure compliance by local school districts, and each state has designated a coordinator of homeless education of children and youth. The coordinator’s office should be helpful in correcting any barriers or other problems that arise in local school districts.” Learn More