The McKinney–Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act guarantees a free and appropriate public education for all children and youth experiencing homelessness. B.E.C. 42 U.S.C. 11431 outlines procedures for deciding school placement, enrolling students, and determining responsibility. Federal and state laws make our responsibility clear. With the huge number of children experiencing homelessness currently attending Philadelphia public schools, we must provide proper educational support and services.
What is the definition of a “homeless youth” under McKinney-Vento?
“Homeless” is defined as “anyone lacking a fixed, adequate, regular nighttime residence.”
What situations fit this definition?
- Staying in the home of other people due to unavailable housing, financial hardship, or similar circumstances
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks (in some instances – examples: leaking roof, no heat, etc.), public places, or campgrounds due to unavailable suitable housing options
- Living in an emergency shelter or transitional housing
- Unaccompanied (not living in direct care of legal parent or guardian) or runaway youth
- Refugee and migrant youth
How does McKinney-Vento help these students?
The law makes sure that these students receive a free and suitable public education by removing barriers to school enrollment and full, basic, daily participation in school activities. This includes:
- Immediate enrollment
- Free and Reduced School Lunch
- Help from school with any necessary enrollment documents
- Help from school setting up transportation service (if the student qualifies)
- Help from school with getting basic uniform clothing
- Help from school with basic school supplies
- Help from school with any basic clothing needs
- Help from school with basic high school graduation needs and expenses
Where can I find more information for Pennsylvania?
- You can visit the PA Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness site
- You can contact our homeless liaison, Jeanne DiLeonardo at 215-823-8208 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Resources for Students
SAFE 2 SAY SOMETHING PROGRAM
Safe2Say Something is a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. The program teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to “say something” BEFORE it is too late. With Safe2Say Something, it’s easy and confidential to report safety concerns to help prevent violence and tragedies.
Contact information: 1-844-SAF2SAY (723-2729)
Download the App here