at Advocates for Children
151 West 30th Street
New York, NY 10001
PLEASE NOTE: In some cases, the resources on this page may not be current.
Important changes related to McKinney-Vento were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). The changes went into effect October 1, 2016, and include: expanded transportation protections until the end of the school year for temporarily housed students who move into permanent housing, the inclusion of preschool in the definition of "school of origin" (children can stay in their school of origin and receive transportation to that school), and changes to the dispute resolution process which include the provision of all McKinney-Vento related services (for example, continued enrollment and transportation) until a final decision is issued. For more information about ESSA changes to the McKinney-Vento Act, see the State Education Department's Field Memo regarding Implementation of Changes to McKinney-Vento Homeless Act as a Result of Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act.
Please continue to check here for updated information about how new laws will impact policies and procedures in New York State, and as always, feel free to contact NYS-TEACHS at 800-388-2014 with any questions you may have.
An unaccompanied youth is a student who is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian; this includes youth who have run away from home, have been kicked out of their homes, or have been abandoned by parents. Click the links below to learn more about unaccompanied youth. There is no age restriction for unaccompanied youth, but these students are most often adolescents. Such students are covered under the McKinney-Vento Act when the student also lacks a fixed, adequate and regular nighttime residence - click here. Without a parent or guardian to advocate on behalf of unaccompanied youth, these students may not understand their educational rights or know how to acquire this information. Click on the links below to learn more about unaccompanied youth.
Get answers to commonly asked questions about unaccompanied youth.
Surrogate Parents and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [PDF]
This document was created by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) to help school districts ensure that unaccompanied youth who are homeless and who have disabilities are able to access special education services.
This NCHE brief reviews basic information about the rights of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness and explains what LEA liaisons can do to assist these students.
Increasing Access to Higher Education for Unaccompanied Youth: Information for Colleges and Universities
This NCHE brief includes a summary of education legislation that gives unaccompanied homeless youth access to educational supports, and examples of practices implemented by high schools, colleges, and universities to assist them in succeeding.
All of the New York State Youth Bureaus, with contact information, listed by county.
This website lists of all of the New York State RHY Service Coordinators (by county) as well as contact information for RHY programs and agencies.
This Toolkit was developed by and for advocates in the runaway and homeless youth (RHY) and domestic and sexual assault fields to help programs better address relationship violence with runaway and homeless youth. The Toolkit organizes information, resources, tips and tools drawn from the lessons learned by collaborative projects funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This report and its accompanying resources from the National Runaway Switchboard provides new research that sheds light on the runaway problem in America and begins to fill in the gaps of what is already known and what can be done to prevent young people from running away.
Surviving the Streets of New York: Experiences of LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Engaged in Survival Sex
This 2015 report from The Urban Institute documents the experiences of LGBTQ youth in New York City who get involved in the commercial sex market in order to meet basic survival needs, such as food or shelter.
Data from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) on OCFS-funded programs that serve runaway and homeless youth. The report includes information from 62 program respondents in 28 counties and New York City.
Youth who are temporarily living in Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) shelters and who attend their school of origin in a different district from the shelter must receive free transportation to school. The RHY shelter where the student is residing should provide transportation to school for the student. The shelter will be fully reimbursed for the expense by NYSED. If the RHY shelter is unwilling or unable to provide transportation, the school district of origin must provide transportation and will be eligible for full reimbursement by NYSED. To arrange reimbursement, school districts should submit this form to: Nancy Chacho, NYSED, P.O. Box 7256, Albany, NY 12224. With the completed form, include a cover letter with:
If a parent is unable to make education-related decisions for a child, he or she may temporarily designate another person to make those decisions on behalf of the student. The person who takes on this responsibility is called the "designee" or the "person in parental relation" to the child. The parent can limit the decision-making authority of a person in parental relation to a certain time period or certain types of decisions, as long as these limitations are noted in the agreement.
This "Designation of Person in Parental Relationship" form from the Office of Children and Family Services includes a more wide-reaching set of decision-making abilities to the "designee" than the form directly above. Specifically, it addresses medical decision-making whereas the form above does not. If a parent is unable to make education or health-related decisions for a child, he or she may temporarily designate another person to make those decisions on behalf of the student. The person who takes on this responsibility is called the "designee" or the "person in parental relation" to the child. The parent can limit the decision-making authority of a person in parental relation to a certain time period or certain types of decisions, as long as these limitations are noted in the agreement.
School districts may develop a caregiver form that establishes the responsibilities of caregivers and requests caregivers' contact information in place of traditional proof of guardianship for unaccompanied youth. This form should be carefully created to avoid barriers to a student's full participation in school.
Laws and Guidance
On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education issued updated Non-Regulatory Guidance for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. This revised Non-Regulatory Guidance for the McKinney-Vento program replaces the July 2016 Guidance and includes new questions that reflect both the amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which take effect on October 1, 2016, and new technical assistance on promising practices for implementing homeless education requirements at the State and local levels.
U.S. Department of Education Dear Colleague Letter on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Determinations [PDF]
This July 29, 2015 Dear Colleague letter from the U.S. Department of Education provides guidance for financial aid administrators on the definition of homelessness, how to make determinations, and documentation. It revises USED policy so that all applicants under age 24, including those who are 22 or 23 years old, and who are unaccompanied and homeless, or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, qualify for a homeless youth determination and will be considered independent students.
Unaccompanied youth are included under the protection of the McKinney-Vento Act when they also lack a fixed, regular and adequate night time residence, as set forth in in Section 725(2) &(6).
New York State Education Law Section 3209 [Word doc]
This law addresses parents' power to designate a "person in parental relation" to a child.
The U.S. Department of Education's "Application and Verification Guide" (AVG) [PDF] provides instructions and guidance to financial aid administrators and counselors who help students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The 2010-11 edition contains important new information regarding unaccompanied homeless youth (pages 28-30). A summary [DOC] of the unaccompanied homeless youth provisions is available on NAEHCY's web site.
The section of the New York State General Obligations Law, "Designation of Person in Parental Relation," creates a limited parental power of attorney by legalizing the practice of parents writing notes to schools or to medical providers to allow others to assume responsibility for their children. This law describes how to designate a person in parental relation, who can be designated, and what parental powers can be designated to the person in parental relation.
Upcoming Workshops and Trainings
Stay tuned for the Summer and Fall 2017 Workshop and Training schedules.
Stay tuned for the Fall/Winter 2017 Webinar series.