Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program Non-Regulatory Guidance – July 27, 2016; Updated March 2017

This guidance was issued in July, 2016; updated in March, 2017. (The update includes changes to Section J: Transportation.)

The Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program is authorized under Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.) (McKinney-Vento Act). The McKinney-Vento Act was originally authorized in 1987 and most recently re-authorized in December 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The McKinney-Vento Act includes, among other things, new or changed requirements focused on:
1. Identification of homeless children and youths;
2. Preschool-aged homeless children, including clarification that local liaisons must ensure that these children and their families have access to and receive services, if eligible, under LEA-administered preschool programs, including Head Start, Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities), and other preschool programs administered by the LEA;
3. Collaboration and coordination with other service providers, including public and private child welfare and social services agencies; law enforcement agencies; juvenile and family courts; agencies providing mental health services; domestic violence agencies; child care providers; runaway and homeless youth centers; providers of services and programs funded under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act; and providers of emergency, transitional, and permanent housing, including public housing agencies, shelter operators, and operators of transitional housing facilities;
4. Professional development and technical assistance at both the State and local levels;
5. Removing enrollment barriers, including barriers related to missed application or enrollment deadlines, fines, or fees; records required for enrollment, including immunization or other required health records, proof of residency, or other documentation; or academic records, including documentation for credit transfer;
6. School stability, including the expansion of school of origin to include preschools and receiving schools and the provision of transportation until the end of the school year, even if a student becomes permanently housed;
7. Privacy of student records, including information about a homeless child or youth’s living situation; and
8. The dispute resolution process.

In addition, the ESSA removes “awaiting foster care placement” from the definition of “homeless children and youths.”

This revised non-regulatory guidance for the McKinney-Vento program replaces the July 2004 guidance and includes new questions that reflect both the amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the ESSA, which take effect on October 1, 2016,9 and new technical assistance on promising practices for implementing homeless education requirements at the State and local levels. The guidance describes the requirements of the new statute and provides recommendations for addressing many of those requirements.