McKinney Vento Act
What is meant by the term “homeless children and youth”?
The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as individuals who
lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The term includes:
1. Children and youth who are:
a. sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing,
economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as
b. living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack
of alternative adequate accommodations;
c. living in emergency or transitional shelters;
d. abandoned in hospitals; or
e. awaiting foster care placement
2. Children and youth who 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
3. Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned
buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
4. Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in
circumstances described above.
What are a school’s responsibilities for enrolling homeless children
1. A school selected on the basis of a best interest determination must
immediately enroll the homeless child or youth, even if the child or youth is unable to produce the records normally
required for enrollment such as:
a. previous academic records;
b. medical records;
c. proof of residency;
d. birth certificates; or
e. other documentation.
2. The enrolling school must immediately contact the school last
attended by the child or youth to obtain relevant academic or other records.
3. To facilitate immediate enrollment, timely transfer of records from school to school should
also take into account procedures for State-to-State record transfers.
4. The McKinney-Vento statute provides a broad mandate to States and districts to
change policies or practices that act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance, and
school success of homeless children. It is important for them to review policies and
practices on an on-going basis, so that new barriers do not prevent children from
receiving the free, appropriate public education to which they are entitled.
For more information or questions call
Lynda White-Piedmont's Homeless Liaison