McKinney-Vento and Foster Care

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, reauthorized under the Every Student
Succeeds Act of 2015 and subsequently referred to as the McKinney-Vento Act, is a
federal law created to support the enrollment and education of homeless students.
McKinney-Vento is intended to provide homeless students the same educational
opportunities as housed students by removing as many barriers to learning as possible.


The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act makes certain provisions available for
homeless students, and defines homelessness as lacking “a fixed, regular, or adequate
nighttime residence.” Determining the extent to which the family or youth fits the
definition must occur on a case-by-case basis.
Examples of homelessness under the McKinney-Vento Act are:

● Children and youth sharing housing (doubled-up with another family) due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
● Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
● Children and youth living in emergency or transitional shelters or transitional
housing (this generally includes a time limit on the housing assistance and case
management by the housing agency)
● Children and youth whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc)
● Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings,
substandard housing, bus or train stations
● Children and youth who are abandoned in hospitals
● Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations
● Youth unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian

Rights of Eligible Children and Youth

● Right to immediate school enrollment, even if lacking documents normally
required for enrollment, including proof of residence or guardian
● Right to remain in the school of origin (where student became homeless), if in the student’s best interest, or enroll in the school that is zoned to where they
currently live
● Right to receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested
● Right to receive support for academic success

Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act
of 2008

This law requires state child welfare agencies to collaborate with their state and local
education agencies to promote school stability and improve educational outcomes for
children in foster care.
Education provisions in Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions
Act of 2008 include:

● Emphasis on the importance of school stability, maintaining the school in which
the child was enrolled at the time of placement
● The need for coordination between state and regional child welfare and state and local education agencies
● Assurance that the placements take into account the appropriateness of the
current education setting and proximity to the school in which the child is
enrolled at the time of placement in foster care
● Ensure immediate and appropriate enrollment by child welfare and local
education agencies, and provide all of the child’s education records to the new
school, if remaining in the same school is not in the child’s best interest

Nutrition Assistance

Students in foster care are categorically eligible for all U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) child nutrition programs. Caregivers for children and youth in foster care do not have to complete a separate application to participate in these programs.


Catrina Hogan
McKinney-Vento and Foster Care Liaison
979-799-1750 Ext. 5003
[email protected]

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