The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1986 is a federal law that provides money for homeless shelter programs. "Homeless" children are also entitled to the protections of the McKinney-Vento Act.
The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." The act provides examples of children who would fall under this definition:
- Children sharing housing due to economic hardship or loss of housing;
- Children living in "motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations"
- Children living in "emergency or transitional shelters"
- Children "awaiting foster care placement"
- Children whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc)
- Children living in "cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations…"
The McKinney-Vento Act ensures homeless children transportation to and from school free of charge, allowing children to attend their school of origin (last school enrolled or the school they attended when they first become homeless) regardless of what district the family resides in. It requires schools to register homeless children even if they lack normally required documents, such as immunization records or proof of residence.
To see the Washington State Office of Student and Public Instruction dispute process click here.
For more information on the Tukwila School Districts McKinney-Vento program please contact your school conselor or social worker, or the districts McKinney-Vento Liasion, Kathleen Gantz, Program Coordinator for Parent Involvement.