The information contained in this document is intended to serve as a general guide regarding Unaccompanied Homeless Youth eligibility. All McKinney-Vento eligibility determinations should be made on a case-by-case basis based on the individual circumstances of each student.
To be eligible for McKinney-Vento services as an unaccompanied homeless student, the student must meet two criteria: 1) The student’s living arrangement must meet the McKinney-Vento definition of “homeless”; and 2) The student is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.
To determine eligibility for a potentially unaccompanied student it is important to ask the question “why is the student living with this person?”
Reasons that a student would not be considered unaccompanied homeless include: 1) if the parent transferred for work and the student wants to stay and finish a school year; 2) if the student moved in with a friend, relative, or coach to play sports, be in the band, attend a magnet school, etc. 3) student did not change residences, a caregiver moved in; parent made arrangements for the student prior to incarceration; 4) parent’s work schedule was problematic, so the student stays with relatives for school.
The following situations would indicate that more information is needed to be able to determine that a student was an unaccompanied homeless youth: 1) parent is incarcerated and a relative or friend agreed to care for the child either in or out of state; 2) parent enrolled the student and then left the area.
The following are all reasons that a student would be considered an unaccompanied homeless youth: 1) family was evicted; cannot find housing all together; parent placed child temporarily with a friend or relative; 2) student left home due to danger or extreme conflict or the student was put out of home by parent for a similar reason; 3) the family was homeless prior to the parent’s incarceration and the caregiver arrangement is not fixed, regular, and adequate; 4) the family lost housing and the parent placed the child temporarily with a friend or relative.
Source: Adapted from a flowchart provided by Gay Thomas, Local Liaison, Virginia Beach Public Schools