Education for Homeless Children and Youth

  • What is the purpose of the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth (McKinney-Vento) program?

    The McKinney-Vento program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. Under this program, State educational agencies ensure that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as other children and youth.

    What is meant by the term "homeless children and youth"?

    The McKinney-Vento Act defines "homeless children and youth" as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The term includes:

    • children and youth who are: sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as doubled-up);

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

    • living in emergency or transitional shelters; abandoned in hospitals; or awaiting foster care placement;

    • children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;

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

    • migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.