If you do not have a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, your children have the right to be enrolled immediately in school. Just contact the nearest public school and ask to speak to the “homeless liaison.” A “liaison” is a person who acts as a coordinator. The school’s homeless liaison can help you with any paperwork or issues with enrolling.
Best interest: School of origin or new school
The homeless liaison, with your input, will determine the school that is in your child’s best interest to attend.
The law favors stability for homeless children. This means the law assumes that attending their school of origin would be in your child’s best interest. The school of origin is the last school your child attended before you became homeless.
At other times, it may be in your child’s best interest to change schools. If you would prefer that your child attend the public school in the area where you are now living, be sure to tell the homeless liaison. Your preference is the most important factor the liaison must consider when deciding the school your child will attend.
If the school decides it would not be in your child’s best interest to attend their school of origin, they must tell you in writing with an explanation for their decision. You have the right to dispute the best interest determination. See the dispute resolution section below for more information.
Your children have the right to stay in the school of origin during the entire time that you are homeless, even if you are homeless for years or you move to temporary housing in another school district or even another state.
There is no time limit placed on how long a student can be considered homeless. Your child is eligible under the McKinney-Vento Act as long as your family does not have a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.
If you move into permanent housing in another school district during the school year, your child can finish that academic year in the school of origin. See the transportation section below for more information.
The McKinney-Vento Act does not apply to private schools. Private schools are not required to allow your child to enroll or continue to attend if you become homeless.
However, if you now live an area where local children attend a private school as if it were a public school — a situation that is common in Vermont — that school must treat your child the same as any other child in the district.