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Attending School while Homeless


Homeless youth have a right to be educated in New Jersey, even if they are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.  


McKinney-Vento Act:

Under the McKinney-Vento Act, homeless youth are given rights and protections to remain in school.  The purpose of the Act is to ensure educational rights and protections for children and youth that are experiencing homelessness. 


Protections for Homeless Youth under McKinney-Vento Act:

  • To Remain in their school of origin (to the extent feasible)
  • Transportation to and from the school of origin
  • Immediately enroll in a new school serving the area in which they are currently living, even if they don’t have typically required documents (e.g. proof of guardianship)
  • Equal access to programs and services such as gifted and talented education, special education, vocational education, and English Language Learner services.


Homeless Liaison:

A Homeless Liaison can help get you the education that you deserve.  The homeless Liaison will work with you and the school district to either keep you in your current school or enroll you into another school that best fits your needs.


Homeless liaison duties include:

  • Helping unaccompanied youth choose and enroll in a school, after considering the youth’s wishes.
  • Informing unaccompanied youth of their rights to transportation and assisting youth in accessing transportation.
  • Providing unaccompanied youth with notice of their right to appeal school or school district decisions and ensuring that youth are immediately enrolled in school pending resolution of disputes


Ways in which you can contact a Homeless Liaison in your District:

  • Log onto the website below to find the contact information of the homeless Liaison in your school district 

  • Contact your local School for assistance in coordinating contact with your local homeless liaison 
  • Contact the NJ State Coordinator for Homeless Education, who can assist in connecting you with your local Homeless Liaison 

Ms. Danielle Anderson-Thomas
State Coordinator, Education for Homeless Children & Youth Program
New Jersey Department of Education
P.O. Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625-0500
Phone: (609) 984-4974
Fax: (609) 292-1211

Helpful Resource on New Jersey Homeless Liaisons: