What is the McKinney-Vento program?

  • McKinney-Vento is a federal law that offers rights and protections to families in difficult or transitionary living situations. Common living situations that fall under the law are:

    • Doubled-up: sharing housing with family or friends (“couch surfing”).

    • Renting a room in another person’s or family’s apartment or house.

    • Staying in hotels or motels.

    • Living in cars, parks, or other places not designed for regular sleeping.

    • Staying in shelters or housing programs.

    • Moving from place to place due to lack of stable housing.

    • Youth living with someone other than their parent or legal guardian.

     

    What rights does my child get under McKinney-Vento?

     

    • Enroll in school immediately, even if missing records and documents normally required for enrollment, such as a birth certificate, proof of residence, previous school records, or immunization/medical records;

    • 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 they were permanently housed or the school in which the child was last enrolled);

    • Receive transportation to and from school if getting to school is a hardship;

    • Receive automatic free lunch from school; and

    • Enroll, attend classes, and participate fully in all school activities while the school gathers records.

     

    Each school district in every state has a McKinney-Vento liaison whose role is to ensure both you and your child’s rights are being met, and to offer any help you may need outside of education, including assisting with clothing, food, and housing. 

     

    If you have any questions, need additional support with either school or outside resources, or believe you have been incorrectly identified as McKinney-Vento status, please reach out to your district McKinney-Vento liaison.

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