Answer: Children experiencing homelessness should be prioritized for pre-K programs. If the program is full, the McKinney-Vento Act does not require the program to go over capacity to serve homeless children. However, the US Department of Education places strong emphasis on enrolling children experiencing homelessness in preschool:
“Even in districts without universal preschool, local liaisons should make every effort to enroll preschool-age homeless children in preschool if they are not already enrolled. The local liaison should remind preschool program staff of how important preschool services are for homeless children and how waiting lists often create barriers for homeless families who wish to enroll their children. Some preschool programs keep slots open specifically for homeless children. Homeless children are also automatically eligible to attend preschool programs funded under Title I.” USED Guidance, March 2017, N-2.