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McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

The McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. Under this program, educational agencies must ensure that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as other children and youth.

Homeless children and youth must have access to the educational and other services that they need to enable them to meet the same challenging State student academic standards to which all students are held. In addition, homeless students may not be separated from the mainstream school environment.


Why do homeless children and youth need a federal law to protect their rights to an education?

Homeless children and youth face many barriers in being successful in school, including:

  • Enrollment requirements (school records, health records, proof of residency and guardianship).
  • High mobility resulting in lack of school stability and educational continuity.
  • Lack of transportation.
  • Lack of school supplies, clothing, etc.
  • Poor health, antique, hunger, anxiety/trauma.
  • Invisibility (lack of awareness).
  • Prejudice and misunderstanding.


Who are homeless children and youth?

  • Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason ("doubled up").
  • Living in motels, hotels, camping grounds due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations.
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters.
  • Abandoned in hospitals.
  • Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live.
  • Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, etc.
  • Migratory children living in the above circumstances.


Is there an age limit on who is eligible for McKinney-Vento services?

  • McKinney-Vento applies to all school-aged children and youth.


What educational rights does McKinney-Vento guarantee for homeless children and youth?

  • A broad mandate for all school districts to remove barriers to school enrollment and retention by revising policies and practices.
  • Students can remain in their school of origin  (the school the child attended when permanently housed or in which he/she was last enrolled).
  • Students must receive transportation to school of origin.
  • Students have a right to immediate enrollment, even if they don't have all their paperwork - for example, medical/health records, proof of residency, former school records, immunization records.
  • Students have a right to access all of the school's programs and services on the same basis as all the other students, including special education, migrant education, vocational education, school nutrition programs (breakfast and lunch), and extracurriculars.

Right to Dispute Eligibility, Enrollment, or Educational Placement


The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act guarantees rights and services for homeless children and youth to remove educational barriers. The law requires states and school districts to follow a dispute resolution process when parents, guardians, or unaccompanied youth and schools disagree on eligibility, enrollment or educational placement of homeless children and youth. The dispute resolution process is intended to represent each party's views for objective consideration so that disagreements can be brought to closures expeditiously. Please click on the link here to access our dispute process. Dispute Resolution Process


Determination of eligibility under this act is done by the district's Homeless Liaison through our Family Resource Center. Please visit our Family Resource Center website for more information or contact our April Couch, Homeless Liaison/Director of Family Resource Center at (423) 272-7629, ext. 2056.


It is the policy of the Hawkins County School System not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability in its educational programs or employment policies as required by Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title IX (1972 Educational Amendments), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.