What is the McKinney-Vento Act?
The McKinney-Vento Act, part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, guarantees homeless children and youth an education equal to what they would receive if not homeless. Homeless children and youth include individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This includes the following situations:
- Sharing the housing of others (known as doubling-up) due to loss of housing or economic hardship, or a similar reason
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds
- Living in emergency or transitional shelters
- Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
- Migratory children living in the above circumstances
The McKinney-Vento Act also recognizes unaccompanied youth who are homeless. According to the act, an unaccompanied youth is a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or legal guardian.
Which School Can a Child Experiencing Homeless Attend?
There are two choices for a student in a homeless situation:
- the school of origin = The school of origin is the school the child attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child was last enrolled.
- the school of residency = The school of residency is the school serving the area where the child or youth is currently physically dwelling. When determining the school of best interest, a homeless child or youth should remain in the school of origin (to the extent feasible) unless doing so is contrary to the wishes of the parent or guardian or to the wishes of the unaccompanied youth.
These children and youth must be allowed immediate enrollment even if they are unable to produce previous academic records, immunization and medical records, proofs of residency, birth certificates, or other documentation that is usually required.
School districts must provide transportation for homeless children and youth to the school of best interest. Districts must also provide transportation during the resolution of any pending disputes over enrollment, school placement or transportation arrangements until resolved.
CPS Homeless Coordinator Contact Information