In January of 2002, Congress authorized the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to help people experiencing homelessness. The federal law includes the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program that entitles children who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence to a free, appropriate education and requires schools to remove barriers to their enrollment, attendance and success in school. The McKinney-Vento Program meets the needs of homeless students attending Wake County Public Schools by addressing academic challenges and family issues affecting their success in school.
Example living situations that may qualify include, but are not limited to:
- Living with a friend, relative or other person/family because of a loss of housing
- Staying in a motel or hotel because of a loss of housing or fleeing domestic violence
- Living in an emergency shelter, transitional housing or domestic violence shelter
- Living in a car, park or public place, abandoned building or bus station
- Living temporarily in substandard housing
- Living in a campground or an inadequate trailer home
- Living in a runaway or homeless youth shelter; run away youth
- Youth living on their own, even if their families want them to come home
The McKinney-Vento Program also meets the needs of "a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian" (42 USC §11434a(6), 2001). Youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian and lacking a fixed, regular and adequate residence are referred to as unaccompanied homeless youth. Youth who run away are also eligible for services even if the parent/guardian/caregiver wishes the student to return home. Some reasons a youth may be on his/her own include, but is not limited to, family dysfunction, parental neglect and abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, or substance), incarceration, illness and deportation. Runaway youth and unaccompanied homeless youth are eligible to be enrolled immediately without a legal guardian. Under the McKinney-Vento Program, there is no age limit for an unaccompanied homeless or runaway youth as long as the student is eligible for K-12 public education in NC. Schools must immediately alert the School McKinney-Vento Liaison or the District McKinney-Vento Liaison if presented with a possible runaway or unaccompanied homeless youth.
The provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act supersede any state law or local policy that may conflict with this act.
Services provided include immediate enrollment, school selection promoting stability, nutrition and academic support. McKinney-Vento services are provided for the duration of a school year and do not automatically renew. School Social Workers and Student Assistance Program (SAP) Counselors assess for eligibility. To obtain more information about services provided and how to access services, please contact the School Social Worker/ School McKinney-Vento representative.
Ms. Tara Jones
Wake County School Social Worker