Arnold Corneal, Homeless Education  & Foster Care Liaison
915 Court Street, Lynchburg, VA  24504
Phone (434) 515-5043
Email: [email protected]

The federal McKinney-Vento Act guarantees school enrollment for anyone who, due to a lack of permanent housing, lives in inadequate or temporary settings, such as:

  • In emergency or transitional shelters
  • In motels, hotels, or campgrounds
  • In cars, parks, public places, bus or train stations, or abandoned buildings
  • Doubled up with relatives or friends
  • In these conditions and is a migratory child or youth

Children and youth living in these settings meet criteria for the McKinney-Vento definition of homelessness and have special educational rights.

What Families Need to Know

Your child can enroll in school even if you have:

  • Uncertain housing
  • A temporary address
  • No permanent physical address
Educational Rights for Children and Youth Lacking Fixed, Regular, and Adequate Housing
  • You do not need a permanent address to enroll your child in school.
  • Your child cannot be denied school enrollment when school records or other enrollment documentation are not immediately available.
  • Your child may be able to remain in the same school (school of origin) even if you move.
  • Your child has the right to transportation services to and from the school of origin.
  • Schools must provide you with a written explanation if a placement dispute occurs, and you may appeal the school’s decision.
  • Your child automatically qualifies to participate in free breakfast and lunch programs.
  • Your child has the right to participate in extracurricular activities and all federal, state, or local programs for which he/she is eligible.
  • Unaccompanied youth lacking fixed, regular, and adequate housing have these same rights.
At School, Ask About These Special Services
  • Tutoring programs
  • Programs to help children learn English
  • Gifted programs
  • Summer school programs
  • Preschool programs
  • Before- and after-school programs
  • Homeless assistance programs
  • Mentoring programs
  • Special education programs for students with disabilities, especially if the student has previously received special education services
School Professionals Also May Provide
  • Quiet time or a personal space to allow your child to complete homework at school
  • Basic school supplies
  • Contact information for community agencies and helpful resources
Tips for Families Who Move Often
  • Keep a copy of birth certificates and school records accessible
  • Safeguard all health and immunization records
  • Have a reliable person keep a second copy of the child’s birth certificate, school records, and health information
  • Enroll children in school as soon as possible
What You Can Do Before Moving
  • Tell your child’s teacher and principal that your child is moving and give them the new address.
  • Let school officials know if you want your child to stay in his/her school of origin while you are getting the family stabilized.
  • Ask for a copy of your child’s school records, including immunizations.

Agency Information List

The following contacts may be useful resources to families and children experiencing homelessness:

  • Coordinated Homeless Intake & Access (CHIA) 918 Commerce Street - (434) 455-5722
  • Domestic Violence Prevention Center - (434) 528-1041
  • Salvation Army 2211 Park Ave. - (434) 845-5939
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (VA Department of Social Services) - (800) 552-7096
  • Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline - (800) 838-8238
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention - (800) 342-2437
  • Hill Burton Free Hospital Care (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) - (800) 638-0742
  • Project Immunize Virginia - (757) 668-6435
  • Medicaid Provider Helpline - (800) 552-8627
  • Family Access to Medical Insurance Security Plane (FAMIS) - (866) 873-2647
  • Pupil Transportation - (804) 225-2037
  • National Mental Health Association Resource Center - (800) 969-6642
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children - (800) 424-2460
  • Adult Education and Literacy - (804) 225-2075
  • Statewide Human Services Information and Referral - (800) 230-6977
  • Food Stamps - (804) 726-7378
  • Lawyer Referral Service - (800) 552-7977
  • Social Security Administration Hotline
    Assists individuals applying for benefits - (800) 772-1213 or (800) 325-0778 (TDD)
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness - (202) 638-1526
  • Virginia Housing Development Authority - (877) 843-22123
  • National Runaway Switchboard - (800) 786-2929
  • Child Help USA Hotline Counselors available to talk with pre-teens about their problems - (800) 422-4453
  • Virginia Interagency Action Council for the Homeless (VIACH) - (804) 371-7175

For more information and resources, visit Project Hope - Virginia. This is Virginia’s program for the education of homeless children and youth, which is administered by the College of William & Mary for the Virginia Department of Education.

Project Hope - Virginia: Education for Children & Youth Experiencing Homelessness