In January of 2002, Congress authorized the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to help people experiencing homelessness. The federal law includes the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program that entitles children who are homeless to a free, appropriate education and requires schools to remove barriers to their enrollment, attendance and success in school.
On December 10, 2015, the President signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Under the previous version of ESEA (the No Child Left Behind Act), the education of homeless children and youth was included in Title X, Part C. Under ESSA, the homeless education is included in Title IX, Part A.
The North Carolina Homeless Education Program is dedicated to ensuring all children and youth experiencing homelessness have access to the public education which they are entitled to under the McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Act.
A. means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence…; and
B. includes —
children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons 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; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals;
children and youths 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…;
children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
migratory children…who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).
McKinney Vento-Eligible Students Have the Right To:
receive a free, appropriate public education;
enroll in school immediately, even if lacking Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness: An Introduction to the Issues 4 documents normally required for enrollment, or having missed application or enrollment deadlines during any period of homelessness;
enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents;
continue attending the school of origin1 , or enroll in the local attendance area school if attending the school of origin is not in the best interest of the student or is contrary to the request of the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth2 ;
receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested by the parent or guardian, or by the local liaison on behalf of an unaccompanied youth; and
receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to each student’s need.