Education Department Issues
Guidance for Homeless Students under No Child Left Behind Act
FOR RELEASE: April 8, 2003
Contact: Jo Ann Webb, (202)
Program Office Contact: Gary Rutkin, (202) 260-4412
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The U.S. Department of Education has released preliminary
guidance to help states and school districts ensure that every
homeless child or youth receives the same educational
opportunities, including public preschool education, as other
The McKinney-Vento program was reauthorized under the No Child
Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). It addresses the problems that
homeless children face in school, such as low enrollment, poor
attendance and lack of academic success.
Changes described under the guidance include:
School districts or schools cannot segregate homeless children
in a separate school program within a school, based on
Schools must immediately enroll homeless students even if the
students are unable to produce the records normally required by
non-homeless students for enrollment.
States and their school districts must ensure that homeless
children are provided transportation--at the request of parents
or guardians--to and from the school they attended prior to
School districts must designate a local liaison for homeless
children and youths.
Studies show that changing schools significantly impedes a
student's academic and social growth. The McKinney-Vento
Homeless Assistance Act requires school districts to keep
students in their school of origin, if at all possible, unless
doing so is contrary to the wishes of the parents or guardians.
The guidelines also discuss the requirement that all school
districts designate local liaisons for homeless children. The
liaisons, who serve as one of the primary contacts between
homeless families and school staff, district personnel, shelter
workers and other service providers, keep parents informed about
available resources and services to help ensure the academic
success of their children.
To access the guidance, visit
Editor's note: The online version of this release has been