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McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of legislation related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. Specific provisions ensure the enrollment, accessibility, and educational stability for students lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as any child or youth who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence including:

  • Those who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship,

  • are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;

  • are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals;

  • Those who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings

  • Those who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

  • Those identified by the Migrant Education Program (as defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless because the children are living in circumstances described in the bullet points above

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

In addition to defining homelessness, the McKinney-Vento Act defines unaccompanied youth as youth who fit the definition of homeless and are "not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian" [42 U.S.C. § 11434a (6)].

Who is considered an Unaccompanied Youth?

  • A student whose living situation qualifies under the McKinney-Vento Act and is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

  • Students can be in the legal custody of their parents and still qualify if their living situation fits the qualification criteria under McKinney-Vento.

Qualification

If you think your living situation may qualify your student(s) for support, fill out our Student Residency Questionnaire to begin the qualification process.

If you require additional assistance, please reach out to our liaisons for qualification.

Aubrey Ranson
Special Populations Specialist
O: 719.234.1362
C: 719.246.0098
aubrey.ranson@asd20.org

Heidi Solis
Title III Community Liaison
O: 719.234.1385
C: 719.822.4857
heidi.Solis@asd20.org

Resources for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Unaccompanied Youth often are living in doubled-up situations, are couch surfing without a constant and predictable place to sleep every night and are entirely dependent on the kindness of others. These youths are among the most vulnerable, as they are dealing with the crises of homelessness without a safe, supportive parent or guardian.

FAFSA/CAFSA

Unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness, and unaccompanied youth who are self-supporting and at risk of homelessness, face many challenges in completing the FAFSA®. Under the Higher Education Act, these students are considered independent students and do not need to include parental information on the FAFSA.Guidancefrom the U.S. Department of Education announced changes to financial aid processes for youth experiencing homelessness resulting from the FAFSA Simplification Act. These changes became effective with the 2023-24 FAFSA. See SchoolHouse Connection’s Financial Aid for Youth Who are Homeless and On Their Own page and FAFSA page for more information.

Tip Sheet for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (UHY)

Financial Aid Success Toolkit (F.A.S.T)

2023-2024_FAST Guide.pdf

2023-2024_FAST Guide SPL.pdf

Contact ASD20’s liaisons to obtain the FAFSA Verification Form.

Aubrey Ranson
Special Populations Specialist
O: 719.234.1362
C: 719.246.0098
aubrey.ranson@asd20.org

Heidi Solis
Title III Community Liaison
O: 719.234.1385
C: 719.822.4857
heidi.Solis@asd20.org

Guardianship Form (in development)

Notification to Parents and Students of Rights Concerning Student Education Records

ASD20 Administrative policy JRA/JRC E-1 states “The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Colorado law afford parents/guardians (parents) and students over 18 years of age (eligible students) certain rights with respect to the student's education records, as follows:

The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights. See JRA/JRC-R.”

If you are an unaccompanied homeless youth and would like to request an amendment to your education record, please fill out the following form.

Form under development

Governing District Policies:

Caregiver Enrollment Form

Caregiver Authorization Form.pdf

Goals of the Initiative

The objectives of McKinney-Vento Homeless Education program are to increase the access, stability, and educational success of children and youth experiencing homelessness. Eligibility is student-centered. Case-by-case determinations are made by the homeless education liaison at the district level and based on the primary nighttime residence. The overall intent of the McKinney Education for Homeless Children & Youth Grant is to remove all educational barriers facing homeless children and youth with emphasis on educational enrollment, attendance, and success.

Rights and Responsibilities

The overall intent of the McKinney Education for Homeless Children & Youth Program is to remove all educational barriers facing homeless children and youth with an emphasis on educational enrollment, attendance, and success.

The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law that provides rights and services to families and students who lack “a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” [1]

  • A fixed residence is stationary, permanent, and not subject to change.

  • A regular residence is used on a regular (i.e., nightly) basis.

  • An adequate residence is sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in home environments.

  • Adequate housing is habitable, accessible, culturally appropriate, and safe.

Some of the living situations that qualify under this definition are:

  • Staying in a shelter (Individual, youth, or family shelter)

  • Doubled up due to economic hardship with family or friends.

  • Unsheltered (cars, parks, campgrounds, etc.)

  • Hotel/Motel or transitional housing

  • And many other situations that may be fixed and regular, but not adequate (i.e., utilities are off, space is too small for the number of people, pest infestation)

McKinney-Vento-eligible students have the right to [2]:

  • A McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Liaison in every school district who has the skills and capacity to carry out the duties of the position. Access to the liaison is confidential [3]

  • Identification of children and youth experiencing homelessness through outreach and coordination activities

  • Immediate enrollment with full and equal opportunity to succeed in school

  • Choice between the neighborhood school or the school of origin (school last enrolled in or attended), when reasonable and necessary

  • Transportation to the school of origin (including preschool), when reasonable and necessary

  • Immediate access to free school meals and educational and extracurricular services for which they are eligible

  • Waiver of all school fees, defined as any fee paid to the school or district [4]

  • Automatic eligibility for Title I, Part A of Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 [5]

  • Referrals to health care, dental, mental health and substance abuse, housing, and other appropriate services

  • Unaccompanied youth are informed of their status as independent students on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Qualification

If you think your living situation may qualify your student(s) for support, fill our qualification form (under development) to begin your qualification process.

If you require additional assistance, please reach out to our liaisons for qualification.

Aubrey Ranson
Special Populations Specialist
O: 719.234.1362
C: 719.246.0098
aubrey.ranson@asd20.org

Heidi Solis
Title III Community Liaison
O: 719.234.1385
C: 719.822.4857
heidi.Solis@asd20.org

Governing District Policies

References:

  • [1] 42 U.S.C § 11434a(2)

  • [2] 42 U.S.C § 11434g(1)(F)(ii)

  • [3] 42 U.S.C § 11434 g(3)(G)

  • [4] 42 U.S.C § 11434 g(1)(F)(iii)

  • [5] 42 U.S.C § 11434 g(6)(A)(x)(III)

Additional Legal References:

  • 42 U.S.C. §§ 11431-11435 (McKinney Homeless Assistance Act)

  • C.R.S. § 22-1-102 (residence of child)

  • C.R.S. § 22-1-102.5 (definition of homeless child)

  • C.R.S. § 22-20-107.5 (district residence of a child with a disability)

  • C.R.S. § 22-32-109(1) (DD) (Board duties)

  • C.R.S. § 22-33-103.5 (attendance of homeless children)

Dispute procedures

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires states and school districts to follow a dispute resolution process when parents, guardians, or unaccompanied youth and schools or local educational agencies (LEAs) or school districts disagree on the enrollment or educational placement (school selection) of homeless children and youth.

The dispute resolution process is intended to represent each party’s views for objective consideration so that disagreements can be brought to closure expeditiously. During the dispute process, the law requires that the LEA allow the child or youth to attend the school that the parents or guardians wish their child to attend, or that the unaccompanied youth wishes to attend, to minimize educational disruption.

When a dispute arises under the McKinney-Vento Act, the law requires the following minimum procedures:

  1. The child or youth “shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute” [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(E)(i)]. As students must be enrolled in school pending a dispute, the local liaison must ensure that unaccompanied youth are immediately enrolled in the school [42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(3)(E)(iv)]. Students have the right to participate fully in school and receive all services which they would normally receive, including transportation services.

  2. The parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth must be provided with a written explanation of the school’s decision regarding school selection or enrollment, including the rights of the parent, guardian, or youth to appeal the decision [42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(3)(E)(ii)]. In addition, any time a student is sent “to a school other than the school of origin or the school requested,” the LEA must provide a written explanation of its decision and an explanation of the right to appeal, whether or not the placement is disputed [42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(3)(B)(ii)]. In the case of an unaccompanied homeless youth, the notice explaining the decision and the right to appeal are provided directly to the youth [42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(3)(B)(iii)].

  3. The child, youth, parent, or guardian must be referred to the local homeless liaison, who will carry out the dispute resolution process as quickly as possible [42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g) (3)(E)(iii)].

https://www.cde.state.co.us/dropoutprevention/nchedisputeresolution