Education for Homeless Children & Youth

The Delaware Department of Education and Delaware schools adhere to the provisions of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act which aims to minimize the educational disruptions experienced by students who are experiencing homelessness.

Under McKinney-Vento, homeless students are guaranteed the right to a free, appropriate, public education. When students become homeless, they can remain enrolled in the schools they have been attending, although they might no longer meet residency requirements. McKinney-Vento also guarantees homeless students the right to enroll in a public school even if they lack the typically required documents and immunizations. In addition, homeless students are guaranteed the transportation they need to attend school.

According to McKinney-Vento, "homeless" can be defined as an individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth:

  • Sharing housing due to loss of housing or economic hardship
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate housing
  • Living in emergency or transitional housing
  • Abandoned in hospitals
  • Awaiting foster care
  • Having a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, regular sleeping accommodations
  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
  • Migratory students meeting the descriptions above

The following signs may indicate homelessness:

  • Lack of continuity in education
  • Poor health/nutrition
  • Transportation and attendance problems
  • Poor hygiene
  • Lack of privacy/personal space after school
  • Social and behavioral concerns
  • Reactions/statements by parent, guardian or child


Homeless Wordle

State Coordinator for Homeless Education

John H. Hulse

Education Associate, 21st CCLC and Title I Programs
Delaware Department of Education
Collette Education Resource Center
35 Commerce Way, Suite 1
Dover, DE 19904
302.735.4100 (T) 302.739.3092 (F)