If you lost your housing and now live in a shelter, motel, vehicle, camping ground, or a temporary trailer; on the street; doubled-up with family or friends; or in another type of temporary or inadequate housing, your child might be able to receive help through a federal law called the McKinney -Vento Act.
What Rights Do Eligible Children and Youth Have Under the McKinney - Vento Act?
Under the McKinney - Vento Act, children and youth in homeless situations have the right to:
- Go to school, no matter where they live or how long they have lived there.
- Attend either the local school or the school of origin, if this is in their best interest; the school of origin is the school the child attended when he/she was permanently housed or the school in which the child was last enrolled.
- Receive transportation to and from the school of origin
- Enroll in school immediately, even if they are missing records and documents normally required for enrollment, such as birth certificates, proof of residence, previous school records, or immunization/medical records.
- Enroll, attend classes, and participate fully in all activities while the school gathers records.
- Have access to the same programs and services that are available to all other students, including transportation and supplemental services
- Attend a school with children not experiencing homelessness; a school may not segregate a student because he or she is homeless.
- Receive free meals through school nutrition programs.
Questions for Parents to Ask at School
Your children are encouraged by your interest in their day at school, their homework, and the papers they bring home. They also benefit when you take the time to ask questions or visit their school. If your child qualifies under McKinney - Vento services, here are some questions you can ask at your child's school about special supports that may be available.
1. Who is the CHIPS (Homeless Contact) at this school?
2. What transportation is available for my child to stay in school?
3. If my child changes schools, can you help us transfer records quickly?
4. How can my child receive free meals at school?
5. How can my child receive free school supplies if needed?
6. Who can help if my child needs special education services? How quickly can these services be set up?
7. What academic help is available for my child such as after school tutoring?
8. What programs can help develop my child's talents and address his/her unique needs?
9. Are there sports, music, or other activities available for my child?
10. How can my child go on class field trips or participate in other school activities if I can't pay for them?
11. Is there a pre-school program for my younger children?
How Do I Get Services for My Child?
To receive services under McKinney - Vento, a Student Residency Questionnaire must be filled out. All schools have copies of the form in three different languages. It also can be found under files on this website.