Education is a critical strategy both for addressing child and youth homelessness and for preventing it from re-occurring in the future. In today’s economy, completing high school is a bare minimum for obtaining a job that pays enough to afford safe, stable housing. High school graduation is also linked to many other important indicators of health and well-being.
We’ve carefully compiled resources on federal preK-12 law and policy, including tools, innovative practices, and the latest research. Stay in touch with us to learn about new resources as we produce and collect them.
The federal McKinney-Vento Act requires states and school districts to remove barriers to the identification, enrollment, stability, and success of children and youth experiencing homelessness. On October 1, 2016, amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the “Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015” went into effect. These amendments elevate best practices to legal requirements for all school districts and states.
- Two-page summary of the homelessness-related provisions in Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by ESSA
- Text of the McKinney-Vento Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
- Two-page summary of the McKinney-Vento Act, as amended by ESSA
- The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015: Amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act. This short article is adapted from “Educating Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness in the ESSA Era,” by Patricia Julianelle, published in the National School Boards Association Council of School Attorney’s Inquiry & Analysis, October 2016. We thank the NSBA for their permission to publish this adaptation for school administrators, McKinney-Vento liaisons and others. Visit them at https://www.nsba.org/.
- Authorization and funding history of the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program from FY1987 to FY2016
- U.S. Department of Education homelessness page: including recently issued federal guidance, and a fact sheet for educators
State Laws on High School Graduation for Students Experiencing Homelessness. The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) places great emphasis on high school graduation for students experiencing homelessness. This document summarizes state laws that complement these federal requirements. Please contact Patricia Julianelle at firstname.lastname@example.org to share information about other state laws that promote high school graduation for students experiencing homelessness.
- McKinney-Vento Website Tool. The McKinney-Vento Act as amended by ESSA requires school district liaisons to ensure that public notice of educational rights is disseminated in “locations frequented by parents, guardians, and unaccompanied youth,” in a “manner and form understandable to them.” Today, many families and youth get information from the internet. This makes it important for school district websites to contain information about the McKinney-Vento Act. Is your school district’s website a McKinney-Vento tool? We’ve created a simple guide to help.
- Self-Assessment Tool. Of all of the amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new requirement for local educational agency (LEA) liaisons to be “able to carry out” ten specific duties in the law has the potential to have the greatest impact on children and youth who are experiencing homelessness. We developed a simple tool to help LEAs quickly identify and prioritize areas where greater capacity is needed to carry out the law.
- Making the Case series. This series will share real students’ situations and walk through making the legal case for providing the
support the student needs.
- Preschool to Prevent Homelessness: Research, Rights, and Resources. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) amended the McKinney-Vento Act in several important ways to increase access to preschool programs. This page contains frequent questions and answers about preschool and homelessness, and links to resources to help implement the new policies.
- ESSA PowerPoint template. All are welcome to download, edit and use this template, which includes the latest guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, new research, a pop quiz, an interactive exercise, sound clips from youth, and new resources.
- Preschool flow chart. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) amended the McKinney-Vento Act to include preschools specifically within the definition of “school of origin. To determine whether a particular early childhood education program is a “preschool” under ESSA, a helpful reference is the definition ED uses for McKinney-Vento data collection. This flow chart provides a guide to that definition.
- Guidelines for Designating LEA-Level and Building-Level McKinney-Vento Liaisons. Designating school building-level McKinney-Vento contacts can be a highly effective best practice for identifying children and youth who are experiencing homelessness, and ensuring full implementation of the McKinney-Vento Act. However, sometimes roles can become muddled. These guidelines were created in response to a request from a State McKinney-Vento Coordinator who confronted challenges clarifying lines of authority and responsibility in school districts that designate school building-level McKinney-Vento contacts (in addition to the required designation of the school district McKinney-Vento liaison). The guidelines are designed to share the relevant laws. and provide a procedure to help maintain clear roles and responsibilities.
- Full Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities for Students Experiencing Homelessness. Research shows the importance of participation in activity programs in increasing high school graduation and later success in life, particularly for disadvantaged students. Yet homelessness creates significant barriers to participation in athletics and other extra-curricular activities. The ESSA amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act include new policies to remove barriers to participation in extra-curricular activities. This brief, the first in SHC’s “Getting to Graduation” series, explains the new requirements and provides examples of policies to help implement them. In addition, this editable template for school districts (Microsoft Word download) can be used to provide athletic directors and associations with determinations of a youth’s homeless status (or foster care status).
We receive many preK-12 questions from educators, service providers, and advocates. We’ll be highlighting questions and our answers on our From Our In-Box page. We also authored many comprehensive ESSA tools for NAEHCY. You can find those tools, including materials to assist with training and implementation, here.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students in America’s Schools. This ground-breaking report, authored by Civic Enterprises and released by America’s Promise, is based on surveys of youth who have experienced homelessness, McKinney-Vento school district liaisons, and McKinney-Vento state coordinators. The website includes an excellent digital media toolkit with infographics that can be used in social media and other awareness-raising efforts.
- Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness. ICPH has produced many important analyses and reports on children and youth experiencing homelessness, including state-specific reports.
- NCHE’s Federal Data Summaries. NCHE produces federal data summaries on preK-12 children and youth experiencing homelessness, from SY2006 to SY2014.