Services for Students Experiencing Homelessness/McKinney-Vento

  • Board of Education Policy 6:140 Education of Homeless Students provide that any homeless child shall be immediately admitted, even if the child or child's parent/guardian is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment. A homeless child may attend the district school that the child attended when permanently housed or in which the child was last enrolled. A homeless child living in any district school's attendance area may attend that school. Students eligible for services under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act shall have transportation provided to them in accordance with both state and federal law. Homeless students will also have all school fees waived and will become automatically eligible for free or reduced cost meals provided by the District. Families that qualify for McKinney-Vento status will be required to provide updated information regarding living situations annually. 

    The District 15 liaison for homeless children is: Claire Kowalczyk, Ed.D., Deputy Superintendent, 580 North 1st Bank Drive, Palatine, IL 60067, (847) 963-3202,

    For more information about Homeless Student/McKinney-Vento Services, please visit the North Cook Intermediate Service Center & Regional Office of Education website.

    Who Qualifies for this Help?

    McKinney-Vento eligible children are those who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime abode. In general, children or youth living in motels, transitional housing, shelters, the street, cars, abandoned buildings, and other inadequate accommodations may be considered eligible for McKinney-Vento services. This includes, but is not limited to, the following groups:

    • Doubled-up Children: living with another family due to lack of a permanent residence

    • Children in Shelters: including transitional living programs

    • Children Living in Motels: due to lack of alternative adequate living situation

    • Migratory Children: if accommodations are not fit for habitation

    • Runaways*: children who have left home and live in a shelter or inadequate accommodations, even if parents are willing to provide a home

    • Lockouts*: children whose parents or guardians will not permit them to live at home

    • *These two categories are Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (UHY), child not in the physical custody of their parent or court-ordered guardian and lack a fixed, regular and adequate abode.

    Homeless Children and Youth Have the Right to:

    Immediate Enrollment:  In school even if lacking paperwork normally required for enrollment.  If during the registration process, a family experiences difficulty obtaining/providing educational or medical records, The district homeless liaison may assist. 

    Choice of School:  Changing schools frequently can negatively impact your student’s education, causing them to fall behind. Students that qualify for educational assistance through the McKinney-Vento Act can stay at the school they have been attending or transfer to the district in which they are temporarily staying.  This does not mean that you can go to any school, it must be one of the schools above. Once you and your family become permanently housed, your student may finish the school year at their current school or transfer to the new district. Your school’s liaison can assist you in whichever decision you make for your students.

    Transportation: Homeless children and youth have the right to receive transportation to his/her school of origin.  If the ride to school is estimated to be more than one hour, the district or liaison can request a meeting with you to determine how this may affect your student’s education.

    Preschool: Children under the age of five (5) may qualify for educational services. Speak with your liaison for available early childhood programs in your area. 

    Free Lunch and School Fees:  Because of your unstable housing situation, your student is eligible to receive a free lunch each day and if the district provides a breakfast  program, that will also be provided at no cost. In addition, your student should not be charged to attend school. This includes books, locks, gym uniforms, class fees, sports programs, and graduation fees.

    Removal of Barriers: Homeless children and youth have the right to services comparable to those received by housed schoolmates, including transportation and supplemental educational service and the right to an “equal playing field”.  Segregation based on a student's status as homeless is strictly prohibited.

    District Review Process: After 18 months of enrollment, and annually thereafter, the District has the right to conduct a review to determine whether the hardship continues and whether a student continues to be eligible for homeless services under State and federal law, including enrollment in the District. The district liaison will be in contact with any families that will be included in this review process that will occur annually. 

    Settling Disputes:  With your McKinney-Vento eligibility, you must be provided with a written explanation of the district’s intent to dispute. Your school district must also provide you with a list of low-cost or free legal services to assist you during the dispute/appeal process. Once you have received notice that your district has filed for dispute, please contact your regional liaison. In the event of a dispute, your Regional Office of Education or Intermediate Service Center will appoint a mediator. The mediator will set a meeting time that is convenient for you and the school district in an attempt to resolve the dispute. If you do not agree with the decision of the mediator, you can appeal to the Illinois State Board of Education.

    For more information about Homeless Student/McKinney-Vento Services, please visit the North Cook Intermediate Service Center & Regional Office of Education website.

    For more information about local Parent Resources, please visit the Parent Resources page on the District website.

Services for Students Experiencing Homelessness/McKinney-Vento

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