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McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act

Homeless Education Guidance Regarding Questions Concerning the Implementation of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act

This Guidance is intended to provide further clarification regarding various issues concerning the implementation of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento).

  • Dispute Resolution - In Homeless Education Advisory 2003 7, A & B concerning the McKinney-Vento Dispute Resolution Process, the Department adopted a policy that a decision on the dispute would be rendered by the Commissioner, or the Commissioner's designee, within "two working days following receipt of the appeal by the parent, guardian, unaccompanied youth, or caseworker for a student in the care and custody of the state." Based on the increasing complexity of the cases the timeline for resolution may be closer to five (5) working days and in some rare instances longer .; nonetheless, the Department will continue to render decisions as soon as possible.

  • Charter Schools - Transportation and enrollment requirements for homeless students attending Charter Schools are the same as those for homeless students attending any other public school. Homeless students have the right to remain in the charter school, their school of origin, and the charter school is responsible, along with the district where the student is temporarily residing, for providing transportation to the student in accordance with McKinney-Vento. McKinney-Vento Act does not address charter school funding. The determination regarding which district is the sending district for purposes of charter school funding, will be made by the Department.

  • School Choice - Once a student enrolls in a school district under school choice, the school choice district becomes the student's school of origin in the event the student becomes homeless. It should be noted that although the school choice law does not require school districts to provide transportation between home and school to school choice students, once such students become homeless, they are entitled to such transportation under McKinney-Vento. That is, transportation and enrollment requirements for homeless students attending a school district under school choice are the same as those for any student covered by McKinney-Vento.

    Furthermore, since homeless students have a right to continue to attend their school of origin (the school they attended when they became homeless) under McKinney-Vento, an open choice district cannot claim such students as school choice students when they exercise their right to remain in their school of origin upon becoming homeless. However, nothing precludes the parent of a homeless student or an unaccompanied homeless youth from voluntarily choosing to apply to enroll in the school district under school choice.

  • Vocational Schools - Transportation and enrollment requirements for homeless students attending a vocational-technical school district are the same as those for any student covered by McKinney-Vento. . McKinney-Vento does not address which city or town is responsible for paying tuition for homeless students who remain in their vocational school of origin when they are temporarily residing in a city or town that is not a member of their vocational school of origin. The Career/Vocational Technical Office's policy is that tuition payments shall be the responsibility of the last known district of residence prior to becoming homeless; nonetheless, district should contact that Office for an official ruling.

  • Home Schooling - Homeless families shall have the same access to home schooling as any other family residing in the Commonwealth. A parent who wishes to home school their child/children shall first determine a school of enrollment as per McKinney-Vento - either the district of temporary residence or the district attended when the family became homeless - and then submit the home schooling application as stipulated by that district.

  • Department of Children and Families, Transitional Care Unit Placements (TCUs) - TCU placements are designed for youth who are in the care or custody of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), who no longer need residential care, and who's expected placement will be home with parent(s)/caregiver(s), foster care or community-based group home. Therefore, TCUs are short-term by design, awaiting permanent placement, and are considered homeless for purposes of McKinney-Vento.

  • Enrollment Verification for Shelter Applicants - Among the ways a family can prove Massachusetts residency when requesting shelter is to provide the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) with a letter from the children's school verifying their enrollment. If a family requests such a letter please be sure it is addressed to the parent, printed on district letterhead, is signed by the Homeless Education Liaison or appropriate administrator, and handed or delivered to the parent (not DHCD).

  • FASFA Homeless Verification - Homeless students completing the FASFA for assistance in post-secondary institutions need a letter from the local Homeless Education Liaison verifying their housing status. This letter should be printed on district letterhead, simply state that the liaison has identified the student as homeless, signed by the Liaison, and be provided to the student.



Last Updated: August 21, 2013
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