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Tales from the Field: Eligibility and School Selection

Updated: May 24, 2022

In this third installment, NYSTEACHS continues to take a different approach to the blog and share actual calls from the field. We hope that these actual scenarios and the responses to them will help McKinney-Vento liaisons when faced with similar situations in their schools. As always, a wealth of resources are available on our website, include many recordings and documents from our previous webinars and web series.

This week let’s take a look at an eligibility issue:

Scenario: A mother was living in the White Plains school district with two children, a first-grader, and a 7th grader. She loses her housing and was placed in a shelter in White Plains. She kept the first-grader with her in the shelter and placed the older child with her mother (grandmother) in a neighboring district in Hartsdale. Can the older child continue to attend school in Hartsdale?

Questions to ask:

1. Is the family McKinney Vento eligible?

2. Based on McKinney-Vento legislation, is the older child eligible to enroll in Hartsdale?


1- Review the McKinney-Vento Act and New York State guidance regarding families and McKinney-Vento eligibility. As always, you can find a wealth of resources on eligibility right here on our NYSTEACHS website.

2- After reviewing the rules on eligibility, if you’re still unsure of what to advise, you are absolutely encouraged to call the helpline for assistance: 1-800-388-2014.

Question 1: Is the Family McKinney-Vento eligible?

Answer: Yes. In this scenario, the mother lost her housing so she placed her older child with a relative. Therefore, the older child is an unaccompanied homeless youth and eligible for McKinney-Vento benefits. The McKinney-Vento Act defines “homeless children and youths” as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The term includes children and youths who are: sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as “doubled-up”); living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations; living in emergency or transitional shelters; or abandoned in hospitals; (Education Law §3209(1)(a); 8 NYCRR §100.2(x)(1); see also 42 USC §11434A(2)(B)(i); U.S. DOE’s Non-Regulatory Guidance, Question A-2,)

Question 2: Is the older child eligible to enroll in Hartsdale?

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