Schools must immediately enroll homeless children and youth, even when:
- School or health records are unavailable at the time of enrollment.
- Birth certificates are not available.
- Proof of residency is not available.
- Students may stay in their school of origin, if feasible.
- Unaccompanied youth must be provided educational access through the support of the local education liaison.
- Schools must provide written explanations of placement decisions and the enrollment dispute process.
Must schools enroll students experiencing homelessness who do not have previous schools records?
Yes. Students experiencing homelessness must be enrolled in school while waiting for the previous school records to be received. Parents can request copies of critical documents such as Individualized Educational Program (IEPs), gifted testing records, and report cards from the student's previous school.
Can a school require proof of residency (rent / lease agreement, utility receipt) that prevents or delays enrollment?
No. Students experiencing homelessness, by definition, lack a fixed residence and cannot be required to provide traditional proof of residency.
Must a school enroll children or youth without proof of immunizations or physicals?
Yes. The school must enroll students who do not have health records if they fall under the definition of homeless. The school should refer the family or youth to the school's social worker or Donna Hudson, LEA Liaison for McKinney-Vento, for assistance in obtaining the necessary documentation.
Attendance and Success
Students with appropriate support are more likely to attend school on a regular basis. Attendance is critical in realizing success in school.
- Homeless students must receive services comparable to those of housed students.
- Transportation to the school of origin must be provided, when appropriate.
- Homeless families and unaccompanied youth must be fully informed of available enrollment options and educational opportunities.
- Separate schools or programs for homeless children and youth are prohibited, with the exceptions of several programs specifically named in the McKinney-Vento Act.