The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act are two federal laws designed to ensure that homeless students receive the educational opportunities that belong to all students. Although this information may not be applicable to you, you may know of a family for which the information may be useful.

According to federal law, homeless children or youth are those who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This definition includes:

  • Children and youth living with a friend, relative or someone else because they lost their home or cannot afford housing.
  • Children and youth who are staying in a motel, hotel or campground due to a lack of adequate alternative accommodations.
  • Children and youth who are living in an emergency or transitional shelter or a domestic violence shelter, or are awaiting foster placement.
  • Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a private or public place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
  • Children and youth who are living in a car, park, public space, abandoned building, bus or train station or similar setting.
  • Unaccompanied youth not in the physical custody of a parent/guardian, who is in transition as defined above. 

It is the intent of the federal legislation as much as possible to keep homeless students in the schools they attended when permanently housed or in which they were last enrolled, unless doing so is against the parents' or guardians' wishes. The district must, to the extent feasible, keep students in transition in their school of origin (defined as the school attended when the students were last permanently housed, or the school in which they were last enrolled), unless it is against the parent’s/guardian’s wishes.

  • Students can remain in their school of origin the entire time they are in transition and until the end of any academic year in which they move into permanent housing.
  • Students may also choose to enroll in any public school that students living in the same attendance area as the student’s temporary home are eligible to attend. If a student in transition chooses to enroll in the neighborhood school of his/her temporary residence, this neighborhood school becomes the resident school/school of origin for the student for any further changes of residence.
  • If a student is sent to a school other than the school of origin or the school requested by a parent/guardian, the district provides a written explanation of its decision and the right to appeal, if the parent/guardian disputes the placement.
  • The district liaison for students in transition assists unaccompanied youth to choose and enroll in a school, after considering youth’s wishes, and provides youth with notice of his/her right to appeal an enrollment choice contrary to their wishes.
  • The district will immediately enroll students in transition, even if they do not have required documents, such as school records, medical records, proof of residency or other documents

Please direct questions related to the education of homeless students to the Office of Children & Youth in Transition at (619) 725-7326 or .