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Educating Homeless Children

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Homeless Dispute Resolution

A poster with information about the McKinney-Vento Act and how it guarantees homeless children and youth an education equal to what they would receive if they were not homeless.

McKinney-Vento Act – Definition of Homelessness:

  • Homeless children and youth are individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.
    • Sharing the housing of others (“doubled-up”) due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;
    • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to a lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
    • Living in emergency and transitional shelters;
    • Unsheltered;
    • Unaccompanied youth who have runaway or who are denied housing by their guardians

Main Themes of McKinney-Vento:

  • School stability
  • School accesses
  • Support for academic success
  • Child-centered, best interest decision making

McKinney-Vento Requires Districts to:

  • Appoint a Homeless Coordinator: Tara Porter
  • Actively identify homeless children & youth
  • Determine school of best interest with family
  •  Provide transportation to school of best interest
  • Remove all barriers to enrollment & success
  • Inform parents, school staff, and others of rights of homeless students
  • Facilitate resolution of disputes

Educational Protections:

  • Immediate enrollment, even lacking paperwork
  • Concepts of “school of origin” and “school of best interest”
  • Right to transportation
  • Right to comparable and non-segregated services
  • Right to complete the school year at one school if feasible
  • Access to free breakfast and lunch program
  • Access to Title 1 services

Additional Services Provided to Homeless Students:

  • Outreach, case management, and support services
  • School supplies, backpacks, school clothes and other daily living and enrichment items
  • Tutoring to help students catch up and stay current
  • Funds for activity and educational field trip fees
  • Funds to replace textbooks, library books,
  • Funds to purchase books for students to own through school book fairs
  • Transportation for students to attend school, extra-curricular activities, and tutoring
  • Transportation for families to attend conferences and school events
  • Funds to purchase birth certificates
  • Hygiene items
  • Scholarships for participation in early childhood education programs

Other Funding and Donations are used to Help Homeless Students With:

  • Graduation expenses
  • Yearbooks
  • School pictures
  • Class rings
  • Field trips
  • Prom/Courtwarming outfits
  • Medical Needs
  • Educational Needs
  • Transportation
  • Extracurricular Fees and Supplies
  • Etc.