The McKinney-Vento Act, part of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, guarantees homeless children and youth an education equal to what they would receive if not homeless. The law ensures that homeless children and youth can immediately enroll in and attend school.

Who Is Considered Homeless?

Section 725(2) of the McKinney-Vento Act defines “homeless children and youths” as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The term includes—

• Children and youths who are:

– sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic

hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as “doubled-up”);

– living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of

alternative adequate accommodations;

– living in emergency or transitional shelters; or

– abandoned in hospitals;

• Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;

• Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

• Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described

Which School Can a Homeless Child Attend?

There is a choice. The homeless coordinator, social workers, parents, guardian, and/or homeless unaccompanied youth select the option that is in the child’s or youth’s best interest:

  • The child may remain enrolled in the school that the child attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child was last enrolled.
  • The child may enroll in the school for the attendance area where he or she is living temporarily. Call the school district’s homeless coordinator for school placement.

District Homeless Coordinator

The McKinney-Vento Act and the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) require that every school district appoint a homeless coordinator who serves as the link between homeless families and school staff, district personnel, shelter workers, and service providers. The homeless coordinator is responsible for assisting homeless children and youth with enrolling and accessing school services; obtaining immunization or medical records; coordinating transportation services; informing parents, school personnel, and others of the rights of homeless children and youth; and collaborating and coordinating with Missouri’s State Homeless Coordinator, the community and other personnel. To identify a district’s homeless coordinator, contact the district’s local administrative office. The McKinney-Vento Act requires every state to appoint a state homeless coordinator to provide guidance to local school district coordinators.

Missouri’s Homeless Coordinator: 573-522-8763
To contact DeSoto School District’s Homeless Coordinator, Debbie Killingsworth
at 636-586-1000.

Missouri Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education

P.O. Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480

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