Education for Homeless Children and Youth

CDE Contact

Leanne Wheeler
State Homeless Liaison, California Department of Education
(916) 319-0383

McKinney-Vento Act

The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, reauthorized in January 2002, protects the educational rights of children and youths experiencing homelessness. The intent of the law is to make certain that homeless students have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education—including a public preschool education—that is provided to other students. Homeless students have the right to enroll in and attend school, participate fully in the school program, and have the opportunity to meet the same challenging academic achievement standards to which all students are held.

Definition of Homeless Children and Youths

The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youths as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence. This definition also includes:

  • Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason.
  • Children and youths who may be living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, shelters, or awaiting foster care placement.
  • Children and youths who have a primary night time residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
  • Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are children who are living in similar circumstances listed above.

SMCOE Brochures

Educational Rights Posters

County of San Mateo Core Service Agencies

AgencyArea Served

Coastside Hope
99 Avenue Alhambra #1089
El Granada, CA
(650) 726-9071

  • El Granada
  • Half Moon Bay
  • Montara
  • Moss Beach
Daly City Community Service Center
350 90th Street
Daly City, CA
(650) 991-8007
  • Broadmoor
  • Colma
  • Daly City
Fair Oaks Community Center
2600 Middlefield Road
Redwood City, CA
(650) 780-7500
  • Atherton
  • North Fair Oaks
  • Portola Valley
  • Redwood City
  • Woodside
Pacifica Resource Center
1809 Palmetto Avenue
Pacifica, CA
(650) 738-7470
  • Pacifica
Puente de la Costa Sur
620 North Street
Pescadero, CA
(650) 879-1691
  • La Honda
  • Loma Mar
  • Pescadero
  • San Gregorio
Samaritan House
4031 Pacific Boulevard
San Mateo, CA
(650) 347-3648
  • Belmont
  • Burlingame
  • Foster City
  • Hillsborough
  • Millbrae
  • San Carlos
  • San Mateo
Samaritan House South
1852 Bay Road
East Palo Alto, CA
(650) 294-4312
  • East Palo Alto
  • Menlo Park
YMCA Community Resource Center
1486 Huntington Avenue
South San Francisco, CA
(650) 276-4101
  • Brisbane
  • San Bruno
  • South San Francisco

For Districts

January 14, 2016 Handouts

Helpful Links