Making McKinney-Vento Work for You

  • Work on building a strong collaborative relationship with the LEA homeless education liaison. Liaisons help identify and ensure that unaccompanied youth have a smooth transition into school and receive the support services they are guaranteed under law. To identify the liaison, contact your State coordinator for homeless education. A list of State coordinators can be found online at www.serve.org/nche/downloads/sccontact.pdf.
     
  • Discuss with the homeless education liaison issues regarding youth guardianship, case management, the school enrollment process, transportation, and existing policies that may pose a barrier to youth receiving educational services.
     
  • Become familiar with your school district’s policies about enrolling unaccompanied youth. Some districts allow youth to enroll themselves while others permit service agency personnel or the local liaison to sign for them.
     
  • Develop relationships with truancy officials and other school personnel and train them on how to recognize school absences that may be the result of homelessness.
     
  • Educate school administrators, teachers, and counselors about the needs of homeless students and those in foster care. As school personnel gain a broader understanding of the needs of these youth, they will be better able to implement policies and practices that ensure access to school and support success in school.
     
  • Introduce your agency and the services you provide to school personnel. That way, you can help establish your agency as a resource, so school staff will feel comfortable making referrals to your agency for assistance. 
     
  • Work with school officials to ensure that the needs of homeless students and those in foster care are included in the school improvement plans.

Tips for working with young people

  • Inform young people upon intake about their rights to an education and how they can access educational services. This should include their right to appeal school enrollment decisions.
     
  • Decide how to introduce the youth to the school and how to best represent the student’s interests in the educational planning process. Listen to what young people say they want and need in school to be successful.
     
  • Be aware of alternative school options for youth, such as vocational education, credit-for-work programs, and flexible school hours. Your LEA liaison should be able to explain specific programs in your area.
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