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HELP Students in Transition Program

HELP Students in Transition Program

McKinney Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act is the primary federal legislation addressing the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness in U.S. public schools. It was reauthorized as Title X, Part C, of the No Child Left Behind Act in January 2002. Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, all Local Education Agencies (LEA) must provide specific services to homeless youth. The full text of the law can be found at In addition, a comprehensive series of issue briefs on various topics in the law can be found at

Students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence--

  • Sharing the housing of other persons temporarily due to loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reason. (doubled up).
  • Living in emergency or transition shelters or abandoned in hospitals.
  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.
  • Living motels, hotels, temporary trailer parks, or camping groups due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations
  • Awaiting foster care placement
  • Migratory children living in one (1) of the above circumstances described above.
  • Unaccompanied Youth living in one (1) of the above circumstance described above.

    • Mortgage foreclosure
    • Natural disaster (earthquake, flooding, hurricane, tropical storm, tornado, wildfire or fire)
    • Lack of affordable housing, unemployment, eviction, etc.

Every child has a right to a free and appropriate public education. Florida Statute 1003.21 requires that all children attend school regularly until they are 16 years old. Children in transition who fit federal definitions of homelessness have a right to:

  • Immediate school enrollment and attendance, even without required enrollment documentation at either the school of origin (the school last attended before they lost their housing) OR the neighborhood school (the school they are zoned for based upon their nighttime residence)
  • Thirty (30) day grace period in which School Social Worker assist parents with obtaining necessary enrollment documents.
  • Remain at their school of origin for the duration of the school year even if they move outside of the school’s attendance zone.
  • School bus transportation to and from the school of origin for the duration of the current school year.
  • Receive free breakfast and lunch immediately for the duration of the school year
  • Receive prompt resolutions about school placement, to include special education, bilingual education, gifted, and remedial programs.

All students have the right to privacy under HIPPA, FERPA, as well as a free and appropriate education defined by FAPE. You can read more about it at the following links:

FERPA: Hillsborough County Public Schools
STUDENT RECORDS (HCPS Policy 8330) p. 86

HIPPA: US Department of Health and Human Services

FAPE: Hillsborough County Public Schools
Notification of Public Benefits p. 89

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