If your family lives in any of the following situations:
- In a shelter, motel, vehicle or campground
- On the street
- In an abandoned building, trailer, other inadequate accommodations
- Doubled up with friends or relatives because you cannot find or afford housing
Then, your preschool-aged and school-aged children have certain rights to protections under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.
Your children have the right to:
- Go to school, no matter where you live or how long you have lived there. They must be given access to the same public education, including preschool education, provided to other children.
- Continue in the school they attended before you became homeless or the school they last attended, if that is your choice and is feasible. If your school sends your child to a school other than the one you request, the school must provide you with a written explanation and offer you the right to appeal the decision.
- Receive transportation to the school they attended before your family became homeless or the school they last attended, if you or a guardian request such transportation.
- Attend a school and participate in school programs with children who are not homeless. Children cannot be separated from the regular school program because they are homeless.
- Enroll in school without giving a permanent address. Schools cannot require proof of residency that might prevent or delay school enrollment.
- Enroll and attend classes while the school arranges for the transfer of school and immunization records or any other documents required for enrollment.
- Enroll and attend classes in the school of your choice even with the school and you seek to resolve a dispute over enrolling your children.
- Receive the same special programs and services, if needed, as provided to all other children served in these programs.
- Receive transportation to school and to school programs.
When you move, you should do the following:
- Contact the school district’s local liaison for homeless education (see phone number below) for help in enrolling your child in a new school or arranging for your child to continue in his or her former school. (Or, someone at a shelter, social services office or the school can direct you to the person you need to contact).
- Contact the school and provide any information you think will assist the teachers in helping your child adjust to new circumstances.
- Ask the local liaison for homeless education, the shelter provider, or a social worker for assistance with clothing and supplies, if needed.
WCSD Director of Student Services
Department of Education, Des Moines, IA
If you need further assistance, call the National Center for Homeless Education at the toll-free HelpLine number: