A homeless child is one who lacks a “fixed, regular and adequate nighttime place of abode.” In general, children or youth living in welfare hotels, transitional housing, shelters, the streets, cars, abandoned buildings, and other inadequate accommodations are considered homeless. This includes the following groups:

  • Children in Shelters
  • Doubled-up Children
  • Living with another family due to lack of a permanent residence.
  • Migratory Children
  • If accommodations are not fit for habitation.
  • Runaways
  • Children who have run away from home and live in a shelter or inadequate
    accommodations, even if parents are willing to provide a home.
  • Throwaways
  • Children whose parents or guardians will not permit them to live at home


What Are Their Rights?

The Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program, as part of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act ensure homeless children the right to:

  • A free, appropriate public education
  • Choose either to stay in the school or origin or attend the school nearest their shelter or temporary home
  • Immediate enrollment even when medical records cannot be produced at time of enrollment
  • Receive assistance with transportation, if needed.
  • A priority to pre-school programs

If you have any questions or need assistance contact your Lead Area Homeless Liaison:

Gary Alexander
(217) 253-4241

If you need further assistance, call the National Center for Homeless Education at the toll-free helpline number:

(866) 862-2562

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth