The McKinney-Vento Act:

    A federal law passed in 1996 to help families who are homeless keep their children in school.

    Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, reauthorized in 2015 by Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act, (42 U.S.C. § 11431 et seq.) is a Federal law that addresses the educational needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness. This brief provides basic information about the scope of the issue of child and youth homelessness, the impact of homelessness on education, and the educational rights and supports available to children and youth experiencing homelessness. Additional briefs on homeless education topics.

    The Definition for Homelessness

    Children or youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. 

    • Fixed Residence-One that is stationary, permanent, and not subject to change.
    • Regular Residence-One that is used on a predictable, routine, or consistent basis (i.e. nightly)
    • Adequate Residence-Sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in home environments.

    Can the student go to the SAME PLACE(fixed) EVERY NIGHT (regular) to sleep in a SAFE AND SUFFICIENT SPACE(adequate)?

    Who Qualifies for Services?

    If your family:

    • Sharing the housing with others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reasons ("doubling up")
    • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to the lack of adequate alternative accommodations
    • Living in emergency or transitional shelters
    • Abandoned in Hospitals
    • 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.
    • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings

    *Unaccompanied youth living in the circumstances described above and/or 

    Migratory children and youth living in the circumstances described above may be eligibility for McKinney-Vento Services. 

    *Unaccompanied Youth-Any student not living in the physical custody of a parent or guardian AND who meets the definition of homelessness under the McKinney-Vento Act:

    • No age limit
    • No citizenship requirement (Plyer v. Doe)
    • Eligible regardless of whether he/she was asked to leave or chose to leave home

    Eligible Children have the Right to:Image of an open palm right hand with varying colored paper cut-outs of people

    • Receive a free, appropriate public education
    • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
    • Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents.
    • Enroll in the local school; or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is their preference and is feasible.

    If the school district believes that the school selected is not in his/her best interest, then the district must provide the student with a written explanation of its position and inform the student of his/her right to appeal it decision.

    • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested
    • Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to the students’ needs.

    View the NCHE Parent Right Brochure and other available resources.