Homeless Youth Services

McKinney-Vento

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act provides services, guidance, and resources for districts to serve homeless youth and families. 

Definition of Homelessness

A student that is defined as homeless is a child without a regular, fixed, and adequate nighttime residence. The child may live in a shelter, a temporary home, a motel, a car, a campground, or on the street. Homeless children may also be living temporarily with relatives or friends because of a loss of permanent housing. 

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act ensures that homeless children and youth, including preschoolers, have equal access to the same free, appropriate educational programs as other children and youth. This federal law mandates the elimination of educational barriers facing homeless children and youth, to increase school stability and protect students from discrimination. Under this legislation, homeless children and youth are entitled to have access to the same educational experience and resources as all students. 

Homeless Youth are entitled to:

  • Immediate enrollment in school without a permanent address, immunizations, school records or other papers.
  • Continue in the school that the student attended before becoming homeless (school of origin).
  • Go to school, no matter where the student lives or how long he/she has lived there.
  • Enroll and attend classes while the school arranges for the transfer of required school records or documents.
  • Enroll and attend classes even while the school and parent/student seek to resolve a dispute over enrollment.
  • Receive transportation to his/her school of origin as long as he/she is homeless, or if the student becomes permanently housed, receive transportation until the end of the academic school year.
  • Participate in tutoring, school-related activities, and/or receive other support services.

Additional Information and Resources

  • US Department of Education offers the full text of the McKinney-Vento Act. Click here to view.
  • California Department of Education lists website resources related to homeless students' rights to enroll and participate fully in school. Click here to view.
  • National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Generates awareness of the educational and other needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness is an important first step in ensuring that eligible students receive the services and supports they need. Click here to view.