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The McKinney-Vento Act, which later became part of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), mandates protections and services for children and youth who are homeless including those with disabilities.  The 2004 reauthorization of IDEA also includes amendments that reinforce timely assessment, inclusion, and continuity of services for homeless children and youth who have disabilities.  Following are a few of the provisions.  For more detail, contact the Utah Parent Center.

Who is considered homeless?

Anyone who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence including:

  • Sharing the housing of others due to lack of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds, due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Abandoned in hospitals,
  • Awaiting foster care placement
  • Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live
  • Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, public train stations, etc.
  • A migrant child who qualifies under any of the above

The Educational Rights for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

  • A  homeless education liaison in every public school district
  • Right to immediate enrollment in school where seeking enrollment without proof of residency, immunizations, school records, or other documents
  • Right to choose between the local school where they are living, the school they attended before they lost their housing, or the school where they were last enrolled
  • Right to transportation to their school of origin
  • Right to be free from harassment and exclusion.  Segregation based on a student’s status and homelessness is strictly prohibited.
  • Right to access to educational services for which they are eligible including IDEA services, ESL, gifted and talented programs, vocational/technical education, and school nutrition programs.
  • Right to be notified of their options and rights under McKinney-Vento.  Liaisons must post rights of students experiencing homelessness in schools and other places in the community.
  • Right to have disagreements with the school settled quickly