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Enrolling Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness in School

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NCHE Resources

Enrollment
This brief identifies the key provisions of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act dealing with the enrollment of children and youth experiencing homelessness and offers strategies for implementation.
Download the brief.

Enrollment: Ready Reference for Schools (enrollment foldout)
This handy foldout booklet assists local homeless education liaisons and enrollment personnel in understanding the legal guidelines for the immediate school enrollment of children and youth experiencing homelessness. It explains the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act related to enrollment and suggests strategies for implementing enrollment procedures that comply with federal law. Its compact size and foldout format make it a great desktop reference.
Order the enrollment foldout.

Immediate Enrollment Under McKinney-Vento: How Local Liaisons Can Keep Homeless Students Safe
This brief, part of NCHE's Best Practices in Homeless Education series, is designed for local homeless education liaisons and discusses how to handle confidential information about students experiencing homelessness. This is especially important for homeless students at risk of further victimization, such as survivors of domestic violence and unaccompanied youth.
Download the brief.

Immediate Enrollment Under McKinney-Vento: How Schools Can Keep Homeless Students Safe
This brief, part of NCHE's Best Practices in Homeless Education series, is designed for school staff and administrators and discusses how to handle confidential information about students experiencing homelessness. This is especially important for homeless students at risk of further victimization, such as survivors of domestic violence and unaccompanied youth.
Download the brief.

Providing Equal Access: Enrolling Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness
This audiovisual presentation provides an introduction to the issue of the school enrollment of children and youth experiencing homelessness. It covers such topics as immediate enrollment, school choice, best interest and feasibility, and transportation to the school of origin. Length: 18:30
View the presentation.


Other Resources

M. Joycelyn Elders, MD: Statement on Immunization Records
This memorandum from Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General, reinforces the importance and logic of the immediate enrollment provision of the McKinney-Vento Act, even when the enrolling student lacks immunization records.
Download the memorandum.

U.S. Department of Education Enrollment Guidelines
This March 8, 2002, notice in the Federal Register lists the guidelines for State and Local Educational Agencies (SEAs and LEAs) for the enrollment of homeless children and youth in U.S. public schools.
View the guidelines.


Sample Forms, Materials, and Policies

Bellingham Public Schools: Families in Transition Intake Form
Bellingham Public Schools (WA) uses this one-page form to document basic information and services needed and requested by enrolling homeless students. Other districts may use this form as a guide for developing their own intake forms.
Download the form.

Bellingham Public Schools: Student Housing Questionnaire
This one-page questionnaire is used by Bellingham Public Schools (WA) to determine eligibility for McKinney-Vento services. It provides the ability for unaccompanied students to verify their own living arrangements by signing for themselves. Other districts may use this form as a guide for developing their own residency questionnaires.
Download the questionnaire in English | Spanish.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools: McKinney-Vento Intake Affidavit
This form is used by Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools to enroll students eligible for McKinney-Vento rights and services. The form details the nighttime living arrangement of the student, documents the student's educational background, requests information about current student needs, and provides a checklist for staff to ensure that all necessary steps have been taken to meet the student's needs and to perform administrative responsibilities related to enrollment.
microsoft word file icon Download the form.

Cobb County School District (Atlanta, GA): Administrative Forms
See Section J of Cobb County School District's Board Policies and Administrative Rules for a variety of forms related to enrolling and educating children and youth experiencing homelessness, including:
  • Information on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  • Procedure for Free Lunch
  • Procedure For Transportation to School of Origin
  • School of Origin Request
  • Student Residency Statement
  • Written Notification Form
    Forms are available in multiple languages, including English, Arabic, Portuguese, and Spanish.
    Visit the webpage. (See Section J).

  • District School Board of Pasco County: Student/Family Domicile Questionnaire
    This one-page questionnaire is used by the District School Board of Pasco County to determine eligibility for services under Title I, Part A, Title I, Part C-Migrant, or Title X, Part C-McKinney-Vento. Other districts may use this form as a guide for developing their own domicile questionnaires.
    Download the questionnaire.

    Electronic Code of Federal Regulations: Title 24, Part 200, Subpart 2 - Minimum Property Standards
    These regulations discuss HUD's guidelines for the establishment of state or local building codes. State and local building codes may be used to determine whether a student's residence would be considered substandard, thereby qualifying the student for McKinney-Vento services.
    View Part 200, Subpart S: Minimum Property Standards.
    View 200.926b: Model Codes.

    Immunization Policies by State
    This chart, prepared by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty in December 2003, lists policies on enrolling homeless children and youth without immunization records by state. It also includes information on immunization requirements and rates for other countries; this information may be helpful for schools enrolling students from other countries.
    Download the chart in Microsoft Word format.
    Download the chart in PDF format.

    International Code Council: State Building Codes
    This website provides access to state building codes for many states. State building codes may be used as standards by which to evaluate whether a student's residence would be considered substandard, thereby qualifying the student for McKinney-Vento services.
    View sample state building codes.

    Louisiana Student Residency Questionnaire
    This one-page questionnaire, developed by the Louisiana Department of Education, may be used to determine homelessness upon school enrollment. Other states may use this form as a guide for developing their own residency questionnaires.
    Download the questionnaire.

    Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD): Residency Questionnaire
    This one-page questionnaire, developed by the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), may be used to determine homelessness upon school enrollment. Other school districts may use this form as a guide for developing their own residency questionnaires.
    Download the questionnaire in English | Hmong | Spanish.

    Missouri Caregiver Authorization Form
    This form from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education enables a caregiver over the age of 18 to authorize the enrollment and school-related medical care of a minor unaccompanied homeless youth.
    Download the form.

    New York City Department of Education: Residency Questionnaire
    This one-page questionnaire, developed by the New York City Department of Education, may be used to determine homelessness upon school enrollment. Other school districts may use this form as a guide for developing their own residency questionnaires. The questionnaire is available in nine languages, including English.
    Download the questionnaire in English | Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | Haitian Creole | Korean | Russian | Spanish | Urdu.

    New York: McKinney-Vento Guidance Regarding Shared Housing Affidavit (NYS Field Memo: McKinney-Vento #06-2009)
    This memorandum from the New York State Education Department provides clarification regarding the use of shared housing and proof of residency affidavits for students seeking enrollment under the McKinney-Vento Act. Among other issues, the memorandum affirms that the use of such affidavits may constitute an educational barrier for students experiencing homelessness; as such, these affidavits may not be required as proof of residency for enrollment or continued enrollment. The memorandum also recommends that school districts throughout the state include a residency questionnaire/enrollment form as the first page of their registration packet to ensure that homeless students are identified at the earliest point in the registration process and will not be required to complete or submit other forms or affidavits as a condition for enrollment or continued enrollment.
    Download the memorandum.

    New York State Law: 3209(1)(b)(2)
    This New York State law establishes that an unaccompanied student may enroll himself or herself "if no parent or person in parental relation is available".
    View the law.

    South Carolina Department of Education: Caregiver Affidavit
    This form from the South Carolina Department of Education enables a caregiver to accept responsibility for educational decisions for a student, including, but not limited to, receiving notices of discipline; attending conferences with school staff; and granting permission for athletic activities, field trips, and other activities. Other states may use this form as a guide for developing their own caregiver affidavit.
    Download the affidavit.

    Texas Student Residency Questionnaire
    This one-page questionnaire, developed by the Texas Homeless Education Office (THEO), may be used to determine homelessness upon school enrollment. Other states may use this form as a guide for developing their own residency questionnaires.
    Download the questionnaire in English | Spanish.

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    The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) is the U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. NCHE is housed at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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