Resources for Homeless/Foster Children & Youth

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act) (42 U.S.C. § 11431-11435) is federal legislation that ensures the educational rights and protections of children and youth 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 youth. The McKinney-Vento Act defines LEAs as public school districts, direct-funded and locally funded charter schools, and county offices of education. The McKinney-Vento Act also authorizes the funding for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program.

Definition of Homeless

The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This definition also includes:

  • Children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Children and youth who may be living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, shelters
  • Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings
  • Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings, or
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are children who are living in similar circumstances listed above

Educational Rights and Resources

Local educational agencies (LEAs) must ensure that children and youth experiencing homelessness are able to participate fully in school activities, and that barriers to identification, enrollment, and retention in school are identified and removed. Children and youth experiencing homelessness have the right to:

  1. Immediate Enrollment: No matter the documentation.
  2. Transportation: LEAs should continue providing transportation support as needed to eliminate barriers to enrollment, participation and retention in school, including to pick up meals or distance learning items.
  3. Academic Access and Success: This includes free meals, and all other academic support afforded to their housed peers and more.
  4. Please make sure to contact your local LEA or county Liaison on the Homeless Education web page.

Contact Information

Each public school district and charter school in Monterey County has a special Homeless or Transition Liaison on site. 

If you need to reach your Liaison, contact Daisy Perez, Student Information Manager at [email protected] or 831-717-4630 ext. 2.            

If you need further assistance, contact Dr. Donna Smith, Program Coordinator for Homeless Services for Monterey County Office of Education at [email protected] or 831-755-0300 ext. 129.