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Homeless/Foster Care

Homeless & Foster Care


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), enacted federally in 2015, highlights the need to provide education stability for children who are in transition. Whether a child is homeless, living with someone other than a parent or legal guardian, or in a foster care situation, ESSA provides resources to assist. There are two Federal Acts to ensure the educational stability for children who are in transition, whether their situation is a result of insecure housing or due to being placed in a foster care situation.


Educational stability requirements for students who have insecure housing are outlined under Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42USC11431 et seq.). Educational stability requirements for students in foster care are outlined in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, also referred to as the Fostering Connection Act and updated in the Every Student Succeeds Act.  These Acts were enacted to address the numerous barriers children in transition face in obtaining a free, appropriate public education.


What Does This Mean?

These Federal Acts ensure educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness or who are entering a foster home situation including the following:


  • The right to immediate enrollment in school, even if lacking paperwork normally required for enrollment.
  • The right to attend school in his/her school of origin (if this is requested by the parent and is feasible) or in the school in the attendance area where the family or youth is currently residing.
  • The right to receive transportation to his/her school of origin, if this is requested by the parent.
  • The right to services comparable to those received by housed schoolmates, including transportation and supplemental educational services.
  • The right to attend school along with children not experiencing homelessness or foster care. Segregation based on a student’s status as homeless or foster care is strictly prohibited.


Am I Homeless or in a Temporary/Transitional Living Situation?

In order to be eligible for services under the McKinney-Vento Act, students must meet the definition of homelessness—The McKinney-Vento Act (Section 725) defines “homeless children and youth” as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth who are:


  • Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (doubling up);
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds, cars, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
  • Abandoned in hospitals;
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above; or
  • Unaccompanied youth, including youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, such as runaways and youth denied housing by their families.


What Should I Do Next?

For more information regarding the homeless and foster care services available in District #187, please call Jamel Allen, Sheryl Blanton, or Tanya Mitchell.


Why Should I Tell You My Situation?

The homeless or foster care liaison can assist you in getting your student enrolled in school and supported socially and emotionally—with confidentially. We can also assist with other resources, when possible.



* The Homeless Education program is authorized under Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42USC11431 et seq.). The McKinney-Vento Act was enacted to address the numerous barriers homeless children face in obtaining a free, appropriate public education. The program was originally authorized in 1987 and amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015.


** The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), S. 1177, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), has provisions to help children in foster care by: (1) Allowing children and youth in foster care to remain in the same school even when they are placed in foster care or moved in foster care; (2) Requiring schools to immediately enroll children after a move; (3) Requiring a plan for school transportation for youth in care when a child attends a school away from their current foster home; and (4) Tracking achievement data for youth in care.