Serving Families in Transition

  • MCPS serves youth and families experiencing homelessness as defined by the McKinney Vento Act through the Families in Transition (FIT) Program. Each school has a designated staff member who is trained to identify and direct families to resources. At Title 1 schools, the designated staff member is the Family Resource Specialist, and at all other schools the designated staff member is the FIT coordinator. Each designated staff member is assigned 15 to 35 hours a week to work with families in the program. Other staff members are also able to identify eligible youth and families in transition and submit the student resource questionnaire to the District Liaison, Colleen Lehman. The District Liaison will then follow up with the family and enroll the student into the McKinney Vento (MH) Program, if eligible.

    The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act affords eligible students the rights to:

    • immediate enrollment
    • transportation/busing
    • automatic enrollment in the free/reduced lunch program
    • automatic enrollment for Title I services
    • access all school-based services for which they qualify
    • participate in all programs and activities offered to students and families
    • challenge enrollment/school-choice decisions

    Who is eligible for FIT services according to the McKinney-Vento Act?

    The term “homeless children and youth” refers to individuals who lack a fixed, regular, adequate nighttime residence. Under the law, a child may qualify if he or she is:       

    • Living in an emergency shelter, domestic violence shelter, or transitional housing. Examples in Missoula might include: Carole Graham Home, Mountain Home Montana, YWCA housing, the Gateway Program at the Salvation Army location on Russell Street, Missoula Interfaith Collaborative's Family Promise, Hope Rescue Mission (Union Gospel Mission), etc.;      
    • Living in a motel, hotel, or campground;  
    • Living in a car, park, public place, bus or train station, abandoned building, or other structure not meant for housing;
    • Doubled-up with relatives or friends due to a loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;  
    • Not living with a parent or legal guardian.

    How can I access McKiney-Vento services?                                                         

    If you feel a student meets the qualifications to receive services provided by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and the student is currently or will be enrolled in an MCPS school, please contact your school Families in Transition (FIT) coordinator for more information; for assistance with determining eligibility please contact Colleen Lehman, McKinney Vento Homeless Liaison and Foster Care Point of Contact, at:

    Phone: (406) 728-2400 ext. 1080


    Address: MCPS Administration Building B, Room 141, 909 South Avenue West, Missoula, MT 59802