What is the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act?
On July 22, 1987, the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act became public law. This was the first comprehensive federal law dealing with the problems of homelessness in America. Recently included in the 2001 “No Child Left Behind Act”, it is now called the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act f2001. (Public Law 107-110) Subtitle B covers the Education for Homeless Children and Youths. (Sec. 721-726). Each school district has a Homeless Liaison who is responsible for explaining these rights.
The main purpose of the Pennsylvania Homeless Children’s Initiative is to make sure homeless youth have access to appropriate education while removing barriers that homeless children face. Its goal is to keep homeless children in school. Pennsylvania’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program is meeting its aim to minimize the impact of homelessness on education. By keeping kids in their schools of origin when possible and coordinating educational services, it helps homeless students receive all of the benefits of the educational system.
Working with the schools, shelters and individual families, the school Social Workers and the Homeless Liaison help minimize disruption. They assist students with enrollment, even if the child or youth lacks required records. They also make sure young people receive other services, such as transportation, health care and dental care.
What is the Definition of a Homeless/Displaced Child?
A Child is considered homeless/displaced if he or she is:
- Living (with or without parents) in a public or private place not designated as a regular sleeping accommodation, such as a vehicle, park, hotel, motel, street, campground, etc.
- Living (with or without parents) in a homeless or domestic violence shelter
- Living (with or without parents) with relatives or friends due to lack of housing (doubled up)
- A runaway or a child or youth who has been forced out of the home by parents or other caretakers, or has no formal custody papers while parents/guardians are in jail or hospital (unaccompanied youth)
- A child of a migrant family who lacks adequate housing
- A school-aged unwed mother or expectant mother living in houses for unwed mothers when she has no other accommodations