Pennsylvania's Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program was established to make sure homeless youth have access to a free and appropriate public education while removing barriers that homeless children face. Its goal is to have the educational process continue as uninterrupted as possible while the children are in homeless situations. Some of the other main objectives of Pennsylvania's Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program are to inform local school districts of their responsibilities to homeless children and youth, to increase awareness about the needs of homeless children, explain current laws and policies, and provide practical tips for working with homeless children.
McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001
On July 22, 1987, the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act became public law. This was the first comprehensive federal law dealing with the problems of homelessness in America. Recently included in the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, it is now called the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001.
The Education for Homeless Children and Youths (EHCY) program, authorized under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act), is designed to address the needs of homeless children and youths and ensure educational rights and protections for these children and youths. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) amended the McKinney-Vento Act, and changes made by the ESSA will take effect on October 1, 2016.
The U.S. Department of Education has released the following:
Below are additional resources pertaining to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act:
Pennsylvania's Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program State Plan:
- Informs school districts of their responsibility to homeless children and youth;
- Provides policies that bring the state into compliance with federal law; and
- Outlines assurances to be sure homeless students have equal access to a quality education.
The goal of the program is to ensure homeless children and youth are provided with a free and appropriate public education on an equal basis with all other children in the state. Program objectives and activities are intended to remove and/or ease the barriers to enrollment and educational success for homeless children.
Some key components of the State Plan, as quoted from the McKinney-Vento Act are:
- Each state educational agency shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.
- In any state that has a compulsory residency requirement as a component of the state's compulsory school attendance laws or other laws, regulations, practices, or policies that may act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance, or success in school of homeless children and youths, the state will review and undertake steps to revise such laws, regulations, practices, or policies to ensure that homeless children and youths are afforded the same free, appropriate public education as provided to other children and youths.
- Homelessness alone is not sufficient reason to separate students from the mainstream school environment.
- Homeless children and youths should have access to the education and other services that such children and youths need to ensure that such children and youths have an opportunity to meet the same challenging state student academic achievement standards to which all students are held.
Pennsylvania's Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program – State Plan 2013 (PDF)
In accordance with the procedure developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and as stated in the Education for Homeless Youth Basic Education Circular (BEC) Section IX, a regional or site coordinator with whom a complaint or appeal is filed must notify the state coordinator immediately. Upon being notified, the state coordinator will review the complaint or appeal and assign it to a regional or site coordinator for disposition. The coordinator to whom the appeal is assigned may contact, interview and accept documentation from any individual or LEA involved, and shall issue a written disposition within 20 business days after the complaint or appeal has been assigned. The disposition shall be provided to the LEA and the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth involved. The child or youth shall continue to be enrolled in the school in which he or she is seeking enrollment until the complaint or appeal is resolved or until a disposition from a McKinney-Vento coordinator is received.
Locations and Projects
- Region 1 (Philadelphia)
- Region 2 (Berks, Chester, Dauphin and Lancaster, Lebanon and Schuylkill counties)
- Region 3 (Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, Mifflin, Huntingdon, Juniata, Perry and York counties)
- Region 4 (Allegheny, Beaver, Bedford, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties)
- Region 5 (Butler, Crawford, Clarion, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties)
- Region 6 (Armstrong, Blair, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Indiana, Jefferson and Potter counties)
- Region 7 (Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montour Northumberland, Pike, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, and Wyoming counties)
- Region 8 (Bucks, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton counties)