The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is Title X, Part C of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The McKinney-Vento Act [§ 725] defines “homeless children and youth” (school age and younger) as: Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth who are residing in the following situations due to a due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason.
- Doubled up with relatives, friends, or strangers;
- Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds, or abandoned in hospitals;
- Living in cars, parks, public spaces, bus or train stations, or abandoned buildings;
- Having a primary nighttime residence that is substandard, or a public/private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodations due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
- Awaiting a foster care placement;
- Migratory children or youth living in circumstances described above; and/or
- Unaccompanied youth, meaning youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, such as runaways and youth denied housing by their families (sometimes referred to as “throwaway” children and youth).
- Children and youth experiencing homelessness have a right to attend school.
- You do not need a permanent address to enroll your child in school.
- Children and youth experiencing homelessness can stay in their school of origin or enroll in any public school that students living in the same attendance zone are eligible to attend, whichever circumstance proves to be in the student’s best interest.
- Schools must provide you with a written explanation if a placement dispute occurs. Contact your local Homeless Liaison for assistance in handling a placement dispute.
- Your child cannot be denied school enrollment because school records or other enrollment documentation are not immediately available.
- Your child may have the right to transportation services to and from the school of origin if determined feasible* (see transportation procedures).
- Your child has the right to participate in extracurricular activities and all federal, state, or local programs for which he/she is eligible. Transportation is generally not available for these activities.
- Unaccompanied youth have these same rights. (Contact your local Homeless Liaison.)
- McKinney-Vento status provides stability at the school for the duration of the school year. If housing instability continues beyond that school year, you must apply for requalification the following school year.
Legal Reference: The McKinney-Vento Assistance Act (42 U.S. C. 11431 et seq.) at Subtitle B of title VII. (Reauthorized 2002).
Unaccompanied youth are youth who are not in the physical custody of a parent or court-appointed guardian, including:
- Young people who have run away from home
- Young people who have been forced to leave their homes
- Young people whose parents have left the area and left the student here.
Their possible living situations include:
- Living with friends (couch surfing)
- Living in shelters
- Living in cars, campgrounds, in abandoned buildings, or other public spaces or on the streets
- Living with an adult who is not their parent and does not have legal custody of them.
School may be the only safe, stable environment for unaccompanied youth. Schools can provide the needed support to ensure continued academic success for these vulnerable students. In addition to academics, schools can offer adult and peer support, meals, referral to medical and mental health services, sports clubs, and other activities. Schools should also connect these young people to other resources and supports available in the community.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires immediate enrollment of these students and protects their right to attend school without parental involvement. Schools must immediately enroll “unaccompanied youth” even if they do not have the documents that are usually required, such as proof of residence, school records, medical records, or guardianship papers. Transportation assistance must be provided (where feasible) if the student needs transportation to the school of origin.
Homeless students are entitled to free standard breakfast and lunch meals at school and DO NOT need to fill out the Free and Reduced Meals application. Once the parent (or unaccompanied youth) fills out the HCPS Education Program for Homeless Students form (MVEF 01), the school submits it to the Homeless Education Liaison for review and approval. Approved requests will be submitted by the Liaison directly to School Nutrition Services. Please do not contact School Nutrition Services; this request must be submitted through the McKinney-Vento program.
Henrico County Public Schools will provide transportation assistance (where feasible*) for students approved as McKinney-Vento eligible so that the student may remain at his/her school of origin. This transportation is arranged through the McKinney-Vento liaison’s office. It may take three to five working days for transportation arrangements to be processed. Once transportation is arranged, the parent/guardian is called and advised of the start date and time of the transportation, the pick-up/drop-off address, and the assigned bus number.
To obtain transportation assistance, please provide information on the HCPS Education Program for Homeless Students form (MVEF 01) indicating the services needed.
If your address/circumstance changes after you or your child are already approved for McKinney-Vento transportation, please notify the school your child is attending and provide the following information:
- Student(s) name(s) & ID #(s)
- Name and address of the school that the student attends or will attend
- Address where the student is to be picked up/dropped off
- Name and contact phone number for the parent/guardian
*“where feasible” is determined by the geographic distance from the school, the age of the student, and the amount of time the student would spend being transported on the bus each day from the out-of-zone address.