Knowing and Understanding the Educational Rights of Homeless Children and YouthThe term “homeless children and youth”, refers to individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. For families that are homeless, their children have rights to:
- Immediate enrollment in school without proof of residency, birth certificate, proof of immunization, or other documents.
- Attend school. Homeless children must be given access to the same public education provided to other students.
- Continue attending the school in which they were enrolled when they became homeless, the school last attended, or the school closest to their temporary residence, if feasible and in the best interest of the child or youth.
- Receive transportation to the school they attended before they became homeless.
- Automatic enrollment in the free/reduced lunch program without proof of income or residency.
- Automatic qualifications for Title 1 Services.
- Expedited assessments for services under LEP, Migrant, Title VII and IDEA.
- Receive all school-based services for which they qualify.
- Participate in all programs and activities offered to other students, including athletics, music, clubs and other extracurricular activities.
- Have their parents participate in and attend school events and activities.
- Challenge decisions on school selection made by schools and districts through the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) Dispute Resolution process.
In addition to these rights, if a family/child is homeless and enrolls through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program, the family can receive Free services requested such as:
- School enrollment
- Tuition Waiver—for homeless families that are outside of district/school boundaries
- Transportation—busing to and from school of origin or neighborhood school
- Academic Support—in-school additional tutoring, transfer of school records, etc.
- Family Advocacy—referrals and support for housing, medical, dental, mental health, child development, social services, and community resources for food, clothing, services, etc.