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Homeless Youth

The McKinney-Vento Act

Before schools can be certain they are complying with legislation related to educating students experiencing homelessness, they must understand who can be considered homeless.

The McKinney-Vento Act (Section 725) defines “homeless children and youth” (school-age and younger) as:

  • Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth who are:
  • Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason.
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations.
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters.
  • Abandoned in hospitals.
  • Awaiting foster care placement.
  • Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
  • Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.

The term unaccompanied youth includes a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. This would include runaways living in runaway shelters, abandoned buildings, cars, on the streets, or in other inadequate housing; children and youth denied housing by their families (sometimes referred to “throwaway children and youth”); and school-age unwed mothers living in homes for unwed mothers because they have no other housing available.

In determining whether or not a child or youth is homeless, consider the relative permanence of the living arrangements. Determinations of homelessness should be made on a case-by-case basis.

School sites should refer ALL homeless to Student Services to determine homelessness and to provide support. This includes students that are new to the school requesting placement and those that are currently placed at a school and become homeless.

TUSD Homeless Guidelines

  • A homeless child is allowed to continue his/her education in the school of origin through the duration of homelessness.
  • If the child’s status changes before the end of the academic year so that he/she is not homeless, a child in high school will be allowed to continue his/her education in the school of origin through graduation. For a child in grades K through 8, the formerly homeless child will be allowed to continue his/her education in the school of origin until the end of the academic school year.
  • A homeless child transitioning between school grade levels will be allowed to continue in the school district of origin in the same attendance area. If a homeless child is transitioning to a middle or high school where the school designated for matriculation is in another school district, the homeless child will be allowed to continue to the school designated for matriculation in that school district.
  • The new school will enroll the homeless child immediately regardless of any outstanding fees, fines, textbooks or other items or moneys due to the school last attended or if the child is unable to produce clothing or records normally required for enrollment, including medical records, proof of immunization history, and proof of residency. (Ed. Code,§ 48852.7)
  • TUSD will exempt from local graduation requirements a homeless child or youth who transfers between schools under certain circumstances. (Ed. Code, §51225.1)
  • TUSD will accept coursework done by a homeless child or youth while attending another school. The district is prohibited from requiring those students to retake courses or partial courses they have satisfactorily completed elsewhere. (Ed. Code, § 51225.2)
  • A complaint of noncompliance alleging violations of these sections, except for Education Code section 48852.7, may be filed under the District’s Uniform Complaint Procedures and Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

Contact Us

Each local district shall designate a staff person as a liaison for homeless children who shall ensure the dissemination of public notice of the educational rights of students in homeless situations. If you are homeless or may become homeless, please contact the following:

TUSD Homeless Liaison
Gil Ogden
Student Services
1574 Canal Drive
Room WW-1
Turlock, CA 95380

P.O. Box 819013
Turlock, CA 95381-9013

(209) 667-00632 Ext. 2251
(209) 667-6441

Support for Families

Student Services may provide backpacks, school supplies and help facilitate transportation requests. In addition, Student Services will contact local non-profits for emergency clothing or health supplies. For housing support, homeless families may call 211 or contact United Samaritans Foundation, 220 S Broadway, Turlock, CA 95380, (209) 668–4853.

TUSD also has a Family Resource Center that can support families with access to food, health/hygiene products, mobile health clinics, and referrals. (209) 667-0632 Ext. 2304.


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