Educational Rights


Definition of Children Experiencing Homelessness

According to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act, the term "homeless children and youths" means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes children and youths who are:

  • sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason
  • living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations
  • living in emergency or transitional shelters (includes transitional housing programs)
  • abandoned in hospitals
  • staying in 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
  • living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
  • runaways or unaccompanied (not in the physical custody of the parent or guardian)
  • migratory who qualify as homeless because of living in circumstances described above

Educational Rights of Children Experiencing Homelessness

In compliance with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act, each school district is required to designate a liaison for homeless children and youths. Parents/guardians should contact the liaison to obtain assistance, services and resolution of disputes that arise regarding eligibility, school selection, or school enrollment.

Children experiencing homelessness have a right to:

  • Consistently attend school no matter where they stay at night (shelter, motel, car, temporarily with family/friends)
  • Participate fully in all school activities and programs for which they are eligible
  • Continue to attend the same school upon moving away from the school’s attendance area or school district
  • Receive transportation from where they are currently staying back to the school of origin
  • Enroll in local school where they are staying without a permanent residence or proof of residency
  • Immediately attend school while the school obtains records (immunization record, cumulative records, special education documents)
  • Automatically receive free/reduced price lunches and other services of the food program without an application