Educational Rights of Homeless Students

Educational Rights of Homeless Students

The federal law known as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires that states and school districts eliminate barriers to immediate school enrollment for students experiencing homelessness ensuring each child of a homeless individual or a homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, as provided to other children and youth (42 U.S.C. § 11431).

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has written procedures outlined in B.E.C. 42 U.S.C. 11431.

Homeless Students are Entitled To:

  • Immediate enrollment
  • Transportation to and from ECCS Learning Center if living at least one mile away
  • Support from teachers
  • Information on available resources outside of school
  • Remain enrolled at ECCS despite changes in living location
  • Help from ECCS with basic school supplies or basic high school graduation needs and expenses
  • Equal opportunities for school success 

Who are Homeless?

“Homeless” is defined as “anyone lacking a fixed, adequate, regular night-time residence.”

  • Are you staying in the home of someone else because you do not have available housing, have a financial hardship, or something similar?
  • Are you living in a motel, hotel, trailer parks, public spaces, or camping grounds due to a lack of alternative adequate accommodations?
  • Are living in emergency or transitional shelters or housing?
  • Are you not living in the direct care of a legal parent or guardian?
  • Are you considered a runaway child or youth?
  • Are you a migrant or refugee child or youth?

If you can answer yes to any of the questions above, you meet the definition of homeless. Please contact the Liaison for Homeless Students for assistance.

Identification of Homeless Students

Homeless students are identified at ECCS in multiple ways.  Families can indicate their living situation through the registration process or alert the ECCS Homeless Liaison (contact info below) if they experience changes in their living status.  ECCS strives to support our students by promoting school stability and connecting students and families with the resources they need for academic success.  

More Information for Homeless Children and Youth Living in Pennsylvania

Visit the PA Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness website.

ECCS Liaison for Homeless Students

The McKinney-Vento Act requires that schools designate a staff person as the local educational agency liaison for homeless children and youth.

To request more information or to identify a student as homeless, please contact the ECCS Homeless Liaison:

Ellen Tannenbaum, School Counselor


Enrollment at ECCS

Homeless children and youth are immediately enrolled in ECCS and provided an individual orientation if the next regularly scheduled orientation date is more than two days away. If the parent or guardian does not have enrollment documents, such as valid ID, birth certificate, transcripts, health records, etc., ECCS will help you get the documents. If you have requested documents for enrollment, please provide them at the time of application.

The school liaison will help families and pre-kindergarten age children to enroll in Head Start or Even Start or other pre-school programs.

Transportation Support

ECCS can provide a SEPTA student day pass for students wishing to come to the Learning Center. Homeless children or youth can use the internet access at the Learning Center during the day, 7:30 am – 3:30 pm. Eligible students must be living at least one mile away from the Learning Center. Students in grades K-5 must be accompanied by a parent or chaperone who is approved by the school and must stay with the child always during transportation and while at the Learning Center.