Enrollment Guide

  • Eligibility:

    According to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, children and youth are considered homeless if they “lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.”

    Living arrangements that meet this definition include:

    Children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, or campgrounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for humanbeings; children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and migratory or unaccompanied children/youths who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.

    Unaccompanied Youth:

    The term “unaccompanied youth” includes youth in homeless situations who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

    Unaccompanied youth have the same rights as other students experiencing homelessness. Specifically, they have the right to:
    • Remain in their school of origin (to the extent feasible)
    • Transportation to and from the school of origin
    • Immediately enroll in a new school serving the area in which they are currently living even if they don’t have typically required documents (e.g. proof of guardianship)
    • Equal access to programs and services, including Free & Reduced Lunch and Title I.

    School Selection:

    School districts must, to the extent feasible, keep students experiencing homelessness in their school of origin, unless it is against the parent’s or legal guardian’s wishes.

    School of Origin:

    Students can continue attending their school of origin the entire time they are homeless and until the end of any academic year in which they move into permanent housing.  The district will presume that keeping a homeless child or youth in the school of origin is in the child’s or youth’s best interest, except when doing so is contrary to the wishes of the student’s parent, legal guardian or the unaccompanied homeless youth. The district will consider student-centered factors related to the child’s or youth’s best interest, including factors related to the impact of mobility on the achievement, education, health and safety of homeless children and youth, giving priority to the wishes of the parent or guardian, or the unaccompanied youth. "School of origin" includes the designated receiving school at the next grade level for all feeder schools.

    Neighborhood School:

    Students may also choose to enroll in any public school that students living in the same attendance area are eligible to attend. If a student is sent to a school other than the school of origin or the school requested by the parent or guardian, the Local Education Authority (LEA) must provide the parent or guardian with a written explanation of its decision and the right to appeal.


    Districts must enroll students in homeless situations immediately (within 24 hours), even if they do not have documents normally required for enrollment, such as previous school records, medical or immunization records, proof of residency, birth certificate, proof of guardianship, or other documents.


    • At a parent's or guardian’s request, homeless students must be provided with transportation to and from their school of origin.
    • For unaccompanied youth, transportation to and from the school of origin must be provided at the local liaison’s request.
    • If a student is homeless any time during the academic year, transportation will be provided throughout the remainder of that school year, regardless of whether the family has obtained stable housing and regardless of whether they live within or outside of the district boundaries, within reason.
    • Transportation arrangements are made by the district liaison and can include busing or mileage reimbursement.


    Please contact the Title I/FIT office with questions pertaining to eligibility, transportation, enrollment, etc., of homeless students:

    Colleen Lehman
    Title I Federal Projects Coordinator                                      
    Families in Transition (FIT) & Foster Care Point of Contact                         
    MCPS Admin Bldg B, Room 141, 909 S. Avenue W.                                              

    728-2400 ext. 1080