Summary of Rights
KNOW YOUR CHILD'S EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS
McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as any student “who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” Students who meet this definition have the following rights:
School Choice: If you move into temporary housing, your children have 3 school choices! They can stay in the same school they went to when you had a permanent address, OR stay in their most recent school, OR transfer to the school for where you are staying now. This includes public preschool programs.
Immediate Enrollment: You can enroll your children in school without the usually required documents. The school must enroll your children within 1 day even without immunization forms, guardianship papers, birth certificates, or proof of address. After your children are enrolled, the school can help you get any needed records.
Transportation: If your children stay in their same school, they can get free transportation to/from that school. If you move from temporary to permanent housing during the school year, your children will still get transportation for at least the rest of the school year, and maybe one more year, if it’s their last year in the building. This includes pre-school aged students.
Free Meals and Title I Services: Your children can get free meals at school. You do not need to fill out any forms about your family’s finances. Students in temporary housing can also get Title I services, including emergency supplies, counseling, tutoring, etc.
Help from McKinney-Vento Liaison: Every school district has a McKinney-Vento liaison. The liaison is a staff person who will help you enroll your child in school and connect you and your family with services. If you don’t know who your district’s liaison is, follow this link or call us at 800-388-2014 and we can tell you.
STAYING IN SCHOOL
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is a federal law that protects the educational rights of students in temporary housing. Under this law, your children are entitled to important rights and services. Specifically, you can enroll your children in school without the usually required documents. The school must enroll your children within 1 day even without immunization forms, guardianship papers, birth certificates, or proof of address. If your children stay in their same school, they can get free transportation to/from that school. If you move from temporary to permanent housing during the school year, your children will still get
transportation for at least the rest of the school year, and maybe one more year, if it’s their last year in the building. This includes pre-school aged students.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
Who is the McKinney-Vento Liaisons for my school/school district? How can I contact them? Follow this link to locate your school/district liaison. (Link to liaisons page with list.)
What transportation is available for my child? Who can help me set it up?
Who can help set up free meals for my child?
What if my child needs special education or English language learner (ELL) services?
What if my child needs school supplies? Who can help me?
Parents Can Boost their Budget by Claiming Tax Credits and Refunds
Many people don’t get their tax refund because they didn’t file a federal tax return. Some people choose not to file a tax return because they didn't earn enough money to be required to file.
Generally, they won't receive a failure to file penalty if they are owed a refund – but they won’t receive their refund either.
A refund isn’t the only money people might be missing out on when they don’t file. If they’re eligible for tax credits, like the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit, they’re leaving that money on the table as well.
The child tax credit
The child tax credit helps families with qualifying children get a tax break. People may be able to claim the credit even if they don't normally file a tax return.
Taxpayers qualify for the full amount of the 2021 child tax credit for each qualifying child if they meet all eligibility factors and their annual income isn’t more than:
$150,000 if they’re married and filing a joint return, or if they’re filing as a qualifying widow or widower.
$112,500 if they’re filing as a head of household.
$75,000 if they’re a single filer or are married and filing a separate return.
The earned income tax credit
The earned income tax credit helps low- to moderate-income workers and families get a tax break. If someone qualifies, they can use the credit to reduce the taxes they owe – and maybe increase their refund.
Low- to moderate-income workers with qualifying children may be eligible to claim the earned income tax credit if certain qualifying rules apply to them. People may qualify for the EITC even if they can’t claim children on their tax return. Visit IRS.gov to learn how to claim the EITC without a qualifying child.
People who qualify for the EITC, may also qualify for other tax credits, including:
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now open. Below are some resources from our partners with more information.
School House Connection FAFSA information
National Center for Homeless Education FAFSA Information