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McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

The McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Assistance Act is a federal law that ensures immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth.
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 and youth sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
  • Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
  • Children and youth living in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Children and youth abandoned in hospitals
  • Children and youth whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc)
  • Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
  • Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations

McKinney-Vento scholars have the right to:

  • Attend school in the attendance area where they are currently living.
  • Attend the school of origin (the school they attended when they became homeless), or the school in which they were last enrolled.
  • Immediate enrollment and support from district McKinney-Vento Liaison in obtaining school records and coordinating services.
  • Receive transportation to their school, if necessary.
  • Free school meals.
  • Receive tutoring services focusing on academic assistance.
  • Receive Preschool services.
  • Support with on-time grade progression and graduation.

For assistance with any scholar that may be eligible, please contact your school liaison by calling the school or the district liaison.

School Placement Appeal Process

If you wish to appeal the school district’s decision regarding school placement, you have the right to dispute this decision following the McKinney-Vento Dispute Resolution Process. Below you will find helpful documents to request dispute resolution: 

For assistance with any scholar that may be eligible, contact:

McKinney-Vento & Foster Care

State of Washington, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Website: Homeless Education 

Keith Woodruff, Program Supervisor of McKinney-Vento, State of Washington OSPI


Additional Resources