The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 reauthorized the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. The program is now referred to as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvement Act of 2001.
This part of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is intended to ensure that homelessness does not cause children to be left behind in school. Requirements regarding homeless students apply to all districts, regardless of whether the district receives a McKinney-Vento Homeless grant. McKinney-Vento funds may be used for tutoring , supplemental services, enrichment services, evaluation of strengths and needs of homeless children, professional development, provision of referral services for medical, dental, mental, and other health services, transportation cost, programs to retain homeless children in public schools, mentoring, homework assistance, and costs for obtaining records, education and training to parents about rights and resources. Stability and adequacy of the living arrangement are critical considerations when determining homelessness. The term homeless children and youths means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
The principal differences between the current McKinney-Vento program and the predecessor program as summarized by the USDE, in "Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, As Amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 Non-Regulatory Guidance, July 2004," page 3, question A-4 (file is posted below)include the following:
Express prohibition against segregating homeless students--The statue expressly prohibits a school or State from segregating a homeless child or youth in a separate school, or in a separate program within a school, based on the child or youth's status as homeless. (See Section E of USDE, July 2004 Guidance.)
Requirement for transportation to and from school of origin--The State and its local education agencies must adopt policies and practices to ensure that transportation is provided at the request of the parent or guardian (or in the case of the unaccompanied youth, the liaison) to and from the school of origin. There are specific provisions regarding the responsibility and costs for transportation. (See school of origin definition in Appendix A and transportation in Section H of USDE, July 2004 Guidance.)
Immediate school enrollment requirement--If a dispute arises over school selection or placement, an LEA must admit a homeless child or youth to the school in which enrollment is sought by the parent or guardian, pending resolution of the dispute. (See Section G of USDE, July 2004 Guidance.)
Changes in "best interest" determination--LEAs must make school placement determinations on the basis of the "best interest" of the child or youth. In determining what is a child or youth's best interest, an LEA must, to the extent feasible, keep a homeless child or youth in the school of origin, unless doing so is contrary to the wishes of the child or youth's parent or guardian. (See Section G of USDE, July 2004 Guidance.)
Local liaison in all school districts--Every LEA, whether or not it receives a McKinney-Vento sub grant, must designate a local liaison for homeless children and youth. (See Section F of USDE, July 2004 Guidance.)
Four Key Organizations For Assisting Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth www.naehcy.org