The McKinney-Vento Act (42 U.S.C. § 11431 et seq.) is a federal law that addresses the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The law defines “in transition” as temporary living situations due to hardship. Situations can include:
• Living with a friend, relative or other person due to loss of housing
• Hotel or motel
• Shelter or transitional housing
• Car, park or other public place
• Campground or inadequate home
• Youth living on their own, runaway youth or youth kicked out
The McKinney-Vento Act addresses educational challenges created by being in transition and guarantees students the right to enroll, attend, and succeed in school.
Why is this important?
Students in transition may change schools frequently. Learning is impacted as students must adjust to new environments, new curricula, and new teachers and classmates, while still learning the same information other students are expected to master. The loss of a home can be traumatic, leaving children and youth with tumultuous feelings that can impact their social and intellectual wellbeing. Limited access to food, medical care, and basic school supplies can also impact performance in the classroom (NCHE, 2014).