What rights do homeless children have to a public education?
Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is intended to ensure that homeless children, including preschoolers and youths, have equal access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).
The McKinney-Vento program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth face in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. Under this program, state educational agencies (SEAs) must 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. Homeless children and youth should have access to education and other services that they need to enable them to meet the same challenging state academic achievement standards to which all students are held. In addition, homeless students may not be separated from the mainstream school environment. States and districts are required to review and undertake steps to revise laws, regulations, practices, or policies that may act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance, or success in school of homeless children and youth.
To support the program, the U.S. Department of Education provides formula grants to the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico based on each State's share of Title I funds.
Additional information is available on the Education for Homeless Children website.