The McKinney-Vento Act & The Education Of Homeless Children

HMLS New YorkerThe McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law that was passed by President Ronald Reagan on July 22, 1987.

The McKinney-Vento Act is a conditional funding act. This means that states that accept funds from the federal government are legally bound by the provisions of the Act. However, there are some states that are noted to have accepted federal funds while failing to comply with the stated terms of the Act.

The Act grants children who live in temporary housing a choice to continue their education at their school or origin (the school they attended when they were permanently housed, or the last school they attended), or at a local school (a school located in the area where they are temporarily housed).

The McKinney-Vento Act also states that students in temporary housing have the right to: “Immediately enroll in school and attend classes; get free transportation to their school of origin; get free transportation to their local school if transportation is provided to other students; get special education services immediately if the student has a current Individual Education Plan (even if the IEP is not available or is from another district); participate in any school activity that is available to other students and get transportation to and from all before- or after-school activities if it is provided to other students; and get free school meals without filling out an application.”

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has reportedly successfully litigated cases against New York, and other localities, that have failed to comply with the Act after receiving federal funding.