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Rights of Homeless Children and Youth

Mckinney-Vento Act and Homeless Students

Rights of Homeless Children and Youth include:      

  • Continuing their education at their current school, and providing transportation to that school, (if feasible)
  • Immediate enrollment in the school district where they are temporarily housed
  • Assistance with obtaining school records       
  • Participation in all applicable school programs, including supplementary instructional programs, field trips, and other enrichment activities, as well as afterschool recreational programs, etc.
  • Assistance with school-related expenses, such as supplies, clothing, uniforms, meals, etc.

 Homeless Children and Youth may be found living in the following places or situations:

  • Public or private shelters
  • With a parent in a domestic violence shelter
  • Transitional housing programs
  • Public or private places not designated for, or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations such as, vehicles, parks, hotels/motels, campgrounds, etc.
  • Individuals and/or families staying with relatives or friends due to lack of housing
  • Runaways, (under 18 years of age), and children or youth who have been abandoned or forced out of their homes by parents or other caretakers. These children may be in temporary shelters awaiting assistance from social service agencies, live alone on the street, or may be moving from place to place among family members, friends or acquaintances
  •  Abandoned in hospitals or awaiting foster care
  • Children of migrant families who lack adequate housing

The Pennsylvania Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program (PA ECYEH Program), assures execution of the federal legislation, McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1988; also incorporated into the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. Implementation of this program ensures that homeless children and youth have equal access to the same, free, appropriate, public education, including preschool education, as provided to other children and youth.

Some of the main objectives of the PA ECYEH Program are to inform local school districts of their responsibilities to homeless children and youth, to increase awareness about the needs of homeless children, reveal and overcome possible educational barriers, explain current legislation and policies, and provide practical tips for working with homeless children.  

Each school district in the United States has a designated Homeless Liaison. This person is responsible for assuring that each homeless child or youth receives all the services guaranteed by federal law.

Bellefonte Area School District— Homeless Liaison
Daniel Park
Phone: (814) 355-2812 x 2202

In addition, Pennsylvania is served by eight regional PA ECYEH Programs that cover all counties and school districts in the state. 

Contact may also be made to:
Andrea Sheesley
Regional Coordinator
Phone: (724) 463-5300 x1235