Every Child Has a Right to an Education
The Federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act states that children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence are considered homeless.
If, due to a loss of housing, a child must live in a shelter, motel, vehicle, or campground, on the street, in abandoned buildings, or doubled-up with relatives or friends, then he/she is eligible to receive services provided under the McKinney-Vento Act.
The McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. Under this program, state educational agencies must ensure that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as other children and youth.
Homeless children and youth must have access to the educational and other services that they need to enable them to meet the same challenging State student academic achievement standards to which all students are held. In addition, homeless students may not be separated from the mainstream school environment.
Under McKinney-Vento, children (PreK-12) have the right to:
- Continue to attend the school they last attended before they lost their housing (school of origin), if that is the parent/guardian’s choice and is in the child’s best interest, or the school which is zoned for their temporary residence.
- Enroll and attend classes immediately while the school arranges for the transfer of school and immunization records and other required enrollment documents.
- If necessary, enroll and attend classes in the school selected by the parent/guardian (school of origin or zoned school), while the school and the parent/guardian seek to resolve a dispute over which school is in the best interest of the child - NOTE: This does not mean any school in the district, only the school of origin or zoned school.
- Receive transportation to the school of origin (if a parent/guardian requests such transportation).
- Participate in any school programs and receive any school services for which they qualify.