The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act mandates that all local school districts have a homeless education liaison who ensures that:
- Homeless children and youth are identified
- Homeless students are immediately enrolled and attend school regardless of paperwork barriers (such as lack of address or proof of immunizations)
- Homeless families, children, and youth receive all educational services for which they are eligible and have full and equal opportunity to succeed in school
- Parents or guardians are informed of the educational opportunities available to their children
- Homeless students have the right to remain in their school of origin (school attended when permanently housed or last enrolled) for the duration of their homelessness or until the end of the academic year in which they move into permanent housing
- Unaccompanied youth are assisted in placement/enrollment decisions
- Enrollment disputes are mediated
Schools should protect the dignity of families in transition by following the procedures established by their district under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, including confidentiality.
Note that these procedures should be implemented if a child is living in a shelter, motel, vehicle, or trailer; on the street; in an abandoned building, campground, or any other inadequate accommodation, including “couch surfing” (having no permanent address); or living doubled or tripled up with friends or relatives due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or extremely limited income in an area with a severe shortage of affordable housing.
- Debra Sanders, Foster Youth Services Coordinator