Goals of the Initiative
- To provide immediate enrollment of homeless children who are not already enrolled. This includes reviewing and revising any laws, regulations, practices, or policies that may act as barriers to the enrollment, attendance, or success of homeless children and youth;
- To provide school choice opportunities for homeless students, including transportation to the student’s school of origin, if the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth requests to remain in the school of origin and it is determined that such placement is in the student’s best interest;
- To provide opportunities for parent involvement in enrollment decisions;
- To ensure that homeless students have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, provided to other children and youth;
- To ensure that homeless students are provided services in such a way that they are not isolated or stigmatized;
- To promote school (or GED) success and completion for homeless students;
- To support collaboration between school districts and social service agencies serving homeless students.
In July of 1987, Congress passed the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (Public Law 100-77). This act included several provisions to help homeless individuals. One component of the Act (Subtitle VII-B) requires states to assure that homeless children and youth have access to a free and appropriate public education. The McKinney Act requires LEAs and BOCES to enroll homeless children, even if they are not permanent residents of the school district; provide comparable services to homeless children; and maintain the records of homeless children so that records are made available when a child or youth enters a new school.
The McKinney Act was reauthorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in the fall of 1994. In 2002, the educational components of the McKinney–Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act were reauthorized as Title X, Part C of the No Child Left Behind Act. Key components of the 2002 McKinney-Vento Act include a specific definition of who is “homeless”, the requirement of a homeless education liaison in every school district, increased responsibilities of LEAs to keep a student in the school of origin when feasible, transportation to the school of origin, and the immediate enrollment of children and youth in school.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education program objectives are to increase the access, stability and educational success for children and youth experiencing homelessness. Eligibility is student centered. Case-by-case determinations are made by homeless education liaison at the district level and based on the primary nighttime residence. The overall intent of the McKinney Education for Homeless Children & Youth Grant is to remove all educational barriers facing homeless children and youth with emphasis on educational enrollment, attendance and success.