Homeless Education Program

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act) is federal legislation that ensures the educational rights and protections of children and youths experiencing homelessness. It requires all local educational agencies (LEAs) to ensure that homeless students have access to the same free, appropriate public education, including public preschools, as provided to other children and youths.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program

The McKinney-Vento Act defines “homeless children and youths” as children and youth who lack fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence; including children and youth who are:

  • Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reasons; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals
  • Living at a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above;
  • Unaccompanied youth, including any youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, such as runaways, or youth denied housing by their families.

Educational Rights

Under the McKinney-Vento Act, homeless children and youth have the right to:

  • Receive a free, appropriate public education.
  • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
  • Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents.
  • Enroll in the local school; or continue attending the school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), according to student’s best interest.

*If the school district believes that the school selected is not in the student’s best interest, the district must provide the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth with a written explanation of its position and inform the parent, guardian, or youth of the right to appeal its decision.

  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested.
  • Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to each student’s needs.
  • Receive free lunches for the duration of the school year.
  • Receive equal access to education and have school fees waived.

Education Services for Students in Transitional Housing Brochure

McKinney-Vento services can be provided to a student experiencing homelessness for the duration of the student’s homelessness and for the duration of the academic year in which the student becomes permanently housed.

Who to Contact

Kern County homeless liaisons ensure that students experiencing homelessness are enrolled and provided with comparable educational services and resources to continue educational development and attain academic success.

If you believe your children may be eligible, contact the local liaison to find out what services and supports may be available. There also may be supports available for your preschool-age children.

Please follow the link below to contact the district/site liaison in your area: https://bit.ly/MVLiaisonList

If you need further assistance:

KCSOS McKinney-Vento Eduation Liaison
Curt Williams

California State Homeless Coordinator
Leanne Wheeler