McKinney-Vento Act Homeless Assistance Act

  • The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act addresses barriers related to enrollment, attendance, and the academic success of homeless children and youth.
    Students/families must apply and meet certain criteria to be eligible for the McKinney-Vento Program.  Eligibility is determined by the district McKinney-Vento Liaison, who is the Family & Community Engagement Administrator.

  • Homeless Children and Family Eligibility and Rights

    Once eligibility has been determined, homeless children and families have the right to:

    • Enroll the student, even if they don’t have immediate access to the required paperwork.

    • A school placement that is in the best interest of the child.  The child may stay at the school they attended when they were permanently housed.  This is called the “school of origin.”  The child may also attend school in the district where the family is currently staying.  The McKinney-Vento Liaison will help determine the most feasible and reasonable placement that is in the child’s best interest.

    • Transportation to the school of origin, if feasible, until the family has permanent housing.

    • Transportation to the school of origin, if feasible, until the family has permanent housing.

    • Free services including breakfast, lunch, and textbook fees.

    • Appeal decisions regarding placement and services.  The McKinney-Vento Liaison can assist families with the appeal process.

  • Tuscaloosa City Schools Homeless Policy

    Homeless Students

    The Tuscaloosa City Schools defines a homeless student as:

    1. An individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence; and

    2. An individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is:

    • i. A supervised publicly or privately operated emergency or transitional shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations;

    • ii. An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or

    • iii. A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, such as parks, campgrounds, cars, or abandoned buildings;

    • iv. Individual living in doubled-up accommodations with family or friends due to a loss of housing, economic hardship, and no other means of shelter; and

    • v. Migratory children and youth meeting the homeless definition.

    The definition of homeless excludes "any individual imprisoned or otherwise detained pursuant to an Act of Congress or state law."

  • Enrollment Eligibility Determination

    An individual who may be homeless or has an uncertain place of residence may present himself for enrollment at the Tuscaloosa City Schools' central office. District administrative personnel should make a determination of the individual's residential status based upon the definition in Section 103(a) of the McKinney-Vento Act and Board Policy. If the individual is identified as a homeless student, via the definition, the homeless student shall be enrolled, eligible for free meals, and transportation needs will be determined. Enrollment of a homeless student shall not be denied or delayed due to any reason related to their homelessness , including, but not limited to, the following reasons:

    • i. Lack of transcripts/school records

    • ii. Lack of immunization/health records

    • iii. Residency requirements

    • iv. Guardianship/custody requirements

    • v. Lack of transportation

    • vi. Lack of birth certificate

    The options for the placement of homeless students are as follows:

    • i. Continued enrollment in the school attended prior to homelessness ;or

    • ii. Enrollment in any school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area where the homeless student is presently living are eligible to attend.

    The placement decision shall be made according to the best interest of the homeless student.

    Factors to be considered include family plans, educational services available, special programs, transportation , and length of stay in shelter facility. To the extent feasible, school administrators shall comply with any placement request made by a parent or guardian. A homeless student enrolled pursuant to these provisions shall not be denied services offered to other students in the school system.

  • Resolution of Disputes

    Enrollment of a homeless student shall not be denied pending resolution of a dispute. Any dispute concerning the Tuscaloosa City Schools providing a public education to a homeless individual, who may be eligible or designated as a homeless student, shall follow the following procedure:

    • i. Upon receipt of a written complaint regarding eligibility, placement, or transportation, the parent or guardian shall be given notice of their right to review. The Homeless Liaison shall be notified of the dispute by the Coordinator of Attendance and Pupil Services (Attendance Officer) and/or the Transportation Department. A resolution of the dispute will be facilitated by the Homeless Liaison in accordance with McKinney-Vento Act requirements as expeditiously as possible, but no later than five (5) school days. A written explanation of the decision shall be provided to the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth by the Homeless Liaison, including a statement regarding the right to appeal to the Superintendent or Superintendent's designee. In the event the dispute cannot be resolved at the school system level, the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth may request a review of the dispute by an Assistant State Superintendent or other designee of the State Superintendent at the Alabama Department of Education. The Assistant State Superintendent, or other designee, will address the issues in the dispute within ten (10) days from the receipt of a written request for resolution.

    • ii. The Assistant State Superintendent, or other designee, may, if the issue is not resolved in the written review, assign members of the Alabama Department of Education to make an on-site visit to further clarify and resolve the issue. All complaints must be resolved within 60 days unless given written explanation.

    • iii. The State Superintendent of Education will review, hear, and rule on grievances from students or the local board of education that have not been resolved by the Assistant State Superintendent or other designee. The decision of the State Superintendent shall be final.

    Source: Tuscaloosa City Schools, Tuscaloosa, Alabama Date: March 21, 2005

  • Federal Programs
    Ingrid Edwards
    Family & Community Engagement Administrator
    Phone: (205) 759-2179
    Fax: (205) 759-3792