Homeless children and youth often have problems enrolling and participating in school. As a result, Congress passed the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act in 1987. This law gives homeless children and youth the right to:
- Remain in the same school even if they move;
- Enroll in a new school without typically required records such as proof of residency, immunizations, school records, or other papers;
- Get transportation to school;
- Get all the school services they need; and
- Challenge decisions made by schools and districts.
Helping Students with School Needs
Despite McKinney-Vento, homeless children and youth sometimes need help enrolling and participating in school. Various individuals can, and should, step forward to provide assistance. Parents, relatives, family friends, school and school district personnel, shelter providers, youth program workers, social workers, advocates, and the students themselves can all play a role in helping young people get an education. If you are such a person, please take a look at the booklet entitled Educating Homeless Children and Youth: The Guide To Their Rights to get you started.