Student Support Services » Family and Community Engagement » Homeless Children (McKinney-Vento) and Foster Youth

Homeless Children (McKinney-Vento) and Foster Youth



The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program helps children with unstable housing have equal access to a free public education as provided to all of the other children in the District. Under the law, a child is considered homeless if they do not have a regular adequate residence. This means any students living in shelters, in substandard housing, doubled up with friends or relatives because they have no other place to go and cannot afford a home. The other living arrangements included are single room hotels, cars, parks and public places. San Lorenzo Unified School District strives to connect students to available district resources as dictated by the law and any applicable resources available in the surrounding community. If you a believe a student qualifies under the McKinney-Vento homeless education program, contact Student Support Services at (510) 317- 4674 to set-up an appointment for immediate help.


A student is might be considered homeless if they are:

    • In a shelter (family, domestic violence, or youth shelter or transitional living program)
    • In a motel, hotel or weekly rate housing
    • In a house or apartment with more than one family because of economic hardship or loss
    • In an abandoned building, in car, at a campground, or on the street
    • In temporary foster care or with an adult who is not your parent or guardian
    • In substandard housing (without electricity, water, or heat)
    • With friends or family because you are a runaway or an unaccompanied youth
And may be entitled to:
    • Enrollment within 24 hours
    • Automatic Enrollment Free/Reduced Meals Program
    • Provide School Supplies
    • Bus pass or Clipper Card when requested
    • Support Service Referrals
    • Academic Intervention
    • Removal of Barriers to Education and Graduation
To be enrolled in school if you live under any of theses conditions, you do NOT need to provide:
  • Proof of residency
  • Immunization records or tuberculosis skin-test results      
  • School records
  • Legal Guardianship papers
You may:
  • Participate fully in all school activities and programs for which you are eligible
  • Continue to attend the school in which you were last enrolled even if you have moved away from that school’s attendance zone or district
  • Receive transportation support from your current residence back to your school or origin
  • Qualify automatically for child nutrition program (free and reduced-price lunches and other district food programs).
  • Contact the district liaison to resolve any disputes that arise during the enrollment process.

Foster Youth Services seek to address the unique educational needs of youth in foster care systems.  Many youth in foster care experience multiple changes in home placements as they are placed with foster parent(s), guardian homes (kinship/relative or non-relative) and group homes.  Because of the complexities of their experience, many foster youth perform below grade level, are held back in school,  and have lower graduation rates than their peers.  Foster Youth Services supports and advocates for the academic success of foster youth in collaboration with District offices, schools, care providers, child welfare, community based agencies, and youth.


FYS ensures equitable access to education for foster youth by removing barriers to education in accordance with CA law (AB 490), such as: 

  • School Stability – The right to remain in their original school when they enter foster care or move (if in their best interests);
  • Immediate Enrollment – The right to be immediately enrolled in a new school (even without health/education records);
  • Partial Credit – The right to receive partial or full credit for work completed at other schools (all students have this right);
  • Fairness – The right to not be punished for court-related absences.

For questions about enrolling in school or for assistance with school enrollment, contact:

Your local School District Liaison for Homeless and Foster Youth:

Amani Dunham [email protected]

or (510) 317-4894


Your County Liaison for Homeless and Foster Youth:

Elizabeth Tarango – Program Management for McKinney-Vento 510-670-7752


Your State Coordinator for Homeless:

Leanne Wheeler – State Coordinator, California Department of Education 1-866-856-8214