All school-aged homeless children are entitled to the same free and appropriate public education that is provided to non-homeless students. Schools are required to remove barriers to the enrollment, attendance, and academic success of homeless students.
Definition of Homeless
The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This definition includes:
- Children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
- Children and youth who may be living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, shelters
- Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings
- Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings, or
- Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are children who are living in similar circumstances listed above
School Selection & Student Rights
A homeless student can attend the last school of enrollment, if feasible, or a homeless student can attend the school in the area where the family is temporarily residing.
- Student can remain at selected school site throughout the duration of homelessness. The school site is considered the school of origin.
- If the family gains permanent housing, the student can remain at the current school for the duration of that academic year.
- Homeless students who are not attending their school of residence do not have the right to attend the next matriculating school. The student must attend the school in the area in which he/she is temporarily residing.
Schools must immediately enroll homeless students, regardless of the lack of:
- Academic Records
- Proof of Residency
- Medical Records
- Immunization Records
The enrolling school shall immediately contact the last school of attendance to obtain missing records.