What is McKinney-Vento?
The McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Assistance Act is a federal law that ensures immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth. McKinney-Vento provides federal funding to states for the purpose of supporting district programs that serve homeless students.
The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." The act provides examples of children who would fall under this definition:
- Children and youth sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
- Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
- Children and youth living in emergency or transitional shelters
- Children and youth abandoned in hospitals
- Children and youth whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc)
- Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
- Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations
Under the McKinney-Vento Act parents/unaccompanied homeless youths have rights to:
- Go to schools, no matter where you live or how long you have lived there
- Stay in the school that he/she was attending before becoming homeless
- Enroll in school immediately, even if you do not have all the enrollment documents, such as school and medical records
- Access the same special programs and services that are provided to other children, including special education, migrant education and vocational education
- Receive the same public education that is provided to other children