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Archived Homeless ListServe Messages

SUBJECT: Confirming Eligibility for McKinney-Vento Services:  Do’s and Don’ts for Local Liaisons


Good afternoon,

The cell phone number you may have been using  for the McKinney-Vento program is no longer a working number

Please continue to use my office phone number 573-522-8763 or you may contact our Administrative Assistant, Lisa Latall,  at 573-751-3468.  I may also be reached by e-mail at

Additionally, here are just a few quick reminders about McKinney-Vento as you continue to enroll students for the 2013-14 school year.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. 


Confirming Eligibility for McKinney-Vento Services:  Do’s and Don’ts for Local Liaisons

Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, schools must identify children and youth in homeless situations and provide appropriate services. One such service is immediate enrollment in school, even when students lack paperwork normally required for enrollment, such as school records, proof of guardianship, a birth certificate, immunization or other health records, and proof of residence. In complying with the immediate enrollment mandate, some school districts may be concerned that families or youth may claim falsely to be homeless in order to gain access to services for which they are not eligible or to gain enrollment in a school outside of their local attendance area.

Due to the stigma associated with homelessness, the vast majority of students seeking eligibility for services under McKinney-Vento does so in good faith and with good reason. If a question arises about a student’s eligibility, schools may wish to confirm the details of the student’s living situation. All such efforts must be grounded in sensitivity and respect, keeping the academic well-being and best interest of the student in the forefront. Using invasive or threatening techniques to confirm a student’s eligibility can humiliate families and youth and may place an already tenuous temporary living arrangement in jeopardy. This may destabilize the family or youth further and may create a barrier to the student’s enrollment, thereby violating the McKinney-Vento Act. Additionally, employing these techniques may violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).¹

Use the following checklists to guide you in confirming McKinney-Vento eligibility. Instruct school personnel with questions about a student’s eligibility to enroll the student immediately and contact you for further information. If you are in need of guidance, contact your State Coordinator for Homeless Education.²


Delaying the enrollment of a homeless student violates federal law and may place the student in danger.



Do conduct ongoing awareness activities in the school district


Do put good policies and procedures in place


Homeless verification can be handled in such a way that it does not violate privacy or jeopardize housing arrangements. It is up to the local liaison, enrollment staff, and/or other school personnel to be sensitive and discreet.


Keeping it positive and supportive instead of invasive and threatening is essential.


Do talk with parents and youth



Don’t threaten or harass parents or students, violate their privacy, or jeopardize their housing


Don’t pose barriers to enrollment


1. For more information on FERPA, visit

2. Visit  to find contact information for your State Coordinator.


Donna Cash

Federal Supervisor

Coordinator, McKinney-Vento Program

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

P.O. Box 480, 205 Jefferson Street

Jefferson City, MO  65102-0480

Office:  573-522-8763  Fax:  573-526-6698

Missouri public schools:  the best choice...the best results!