McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, schools must ensure that homeless children and youths have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as is provided to other children and youths. Homeless students must also have access to the education and other services needed to meet the same challenging State academic standards to which all students are held.
Homeless Children and Youths Defined
Homeless children and youths refers to individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The term includes:
- Youths who are sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
- Youths who are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals; have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed to be a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
- Youths living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings;
- And migratory children, who qualify as homeless because of their living arrangements.
Guarantees for Homeless Children and Youth
- Ability to enroll in school, even if lacking paperwork normally required
- The right to attend in the school of origin or in the school in the attendance area where currently residing
- An “equal playing field” and the removal of barriers to receiving educational services (including free school meals, fee waivers for school fees, access to tutoring, and more)
- Transportation to and from school (if transportation is a barrier to receiving an education)
- The right to attend school along with children not experiencing homelessness
- The posting of homeless students’ rights in all schools and other places around the community.
McKinney-Vento Fact Sheet
Board Policy - Approved 2/23/17
Each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education as provided to other children and youths, including a public pre-school education. A homeless child is defined as provided in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the Ill. Education for Homeless Children Act. The Superintendent or designee shall act as or appoint a Liaison for Homeless Children to coordinate this policy’s implementation.
A homeless child may attend the District school that the child attended when permanently housed or in which the child was last enrolled. A homeless child living in any District school’s attendance area may attend that school.
The Superintendent or designee shall review and revise rules or procedures that may act as barriers to the enrollment of homeless children and youths. In reviewing and revising such procedures, consideration shall be given to issues concerning transportation, immunization, residency, birth certificates, school records and other documentation, and guardianship. Transportation shall be provided in accordance with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and State law. The Superintendent or designee shall give special attention to ensuring the enrollment and attendance of homeless children and youths who are not currently attending school. If a child is denied enrollment or transportation under this policy, the Liaison for Homeless Children shall immediately refer the child or his or her parent/guardian to the ombudsperson appointed by the Regional Superintendent and provide the child or his or her parent/guardian with a written explanation for the denial. Whenever a child and his or her parent/guardian who initially share the housing of another person due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar hardship continue to share the housing, the Liaison for Homeless Children shall, after the passage of 18 months and annually thereafter, conduct a review as to whether such hardship continues to exist in accordance with State law.
Association of Homeless Advocates in the North/Northwest District (A.H.A.N.D.)
Other Homeless Resources
Regional Homeless Liaisons - State of Illinois
Frequently Asked Questions
Student Registration and Enrollment Guidance
Learn more by contacting Dr. Janine Gruhn, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847-313-4411.