- Every local education agency (LEA) must designate a liaison for children and youth experiencing homelessness. 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(J)(ii). The McKinney-Vento Act requires liaisons to ensure that “homeless children and youths are identified by school personnel and through coordination with other entities and agencies.” 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(6)(A). The purpose of identification is to offer appropriate services to the family, child or youth. Coordination with schools and community agencies is an essential identification strategy, as are professional development, awareness and training activities within school buildings, school districts, and the community.
- The McKinney-Vento Act specifies the duties of liaisons, as follows: identify homeless children and youth; ensure that children and youth experiencing homelessness enroll in, and have a full and fair opportunity to succeed in, school; ensure that families, children and youth receive educational services for which they are eligible, including Head Start, Even Start and other public preschool programs, and referrals to health care, dental, mental health and other appropriate services; inform parents and guardians of the educational and related opportunities available to their children and provide them with meaningful opportunities to participate in that education; disseminate public notice of educational rights; ensure that enrollment disputes are mediated; inform families and youth about transportation services and assist them in accessing transportation.
- The McKinney-Vento Act requires school districts to provide transportation for students experiencing homelessness in three situations. First, school districts must provide transportation to the school of origin upon the request of a parent or guardian, or in the case of an unaccompanied youth, upon the request of the McKinney-Vento liaison. 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(J)(iii). That is true regardless of whether the district provides transportation for other students or in other circumstances. Second, for other transportation (as opposed to the school of origin), the McKinney-Vento Act requires districts to provide transportation comparable to that provided to housed students. 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(4)(A). Therefore, if the district transports housed students to the local school or to a summer program, it must also transport students experiencing homelessness. Finally, school districts must eliminate barriers to the school enrollment and retention of students experiencing homelessness.
Cathi Nye, Homeless Education Program Coordinator
5189 Verdugo Way
Camarillo, CA 93012