Helping children and youth experiencing homelessness access PA's public schools by removing barriers to a free and appropriate public education. The goal of the program is to have a student's education continue as uninterrupted as possible while he or she is homeless.
The McKinney-Vento Act
On July 22, 1987, the Stewart B. McKinney Homelessness Act became public law. This was the first comprehensive federal law that addressed homelessness in America. It was included in the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001 (Public Las 107-110). Subtitle B addresses education for homeless children and youth (Sec. 721-726).
Provisions of the Act
- Homeless Children have the right to attend either their original school or the school in the area in which they currently reside for the duration of their homelessness, or until the end of the school year if the family finds permanent housing.
- Schools are to immediately enroll homeless children and unaccompanied youth, even if they are unable to produce records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, proof of residency, and any other required documentation.
- In the case where the educating district is different than the district where the student is temporarily residing, both school districts are responsible for the facilitation of transportation in the best interest of the student.
- Immediately upon enrollment, homeless students are entitled to receive a daily, free school lunch.
Children and youth experiencing homelessness:
A child is considered homeless if he or she is living with or without a parent:
- In a homeless or domestic violence shelter
- In a public or private place not designated as a regular sleeping accommodation, such as a vehicle, park, hotel, or campground
- With relatives or friends due to lack of housing
- Outside of his or her home as a runaway or because he/she has been forced out of the home
- In a house for unwed mothers and has no other living accommodations
- In any of the situations listed above as a child of a migrant family
Assistance available through the program:
- Assisting with school enrollment and placement
- Providing agency referrals for clothing, food, shelter, rent, and school supplies
- Coordinating support services
- Providing training on the McKinney-Vento Act
- Increase public awareness of homelessness
PDE-PAs Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program
Center for Schools and Communities