Department of Education Issues New Guidance on ESSA

U.S. Department of Education

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorizes the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistant Act and includes new provisions for children and youth experiencing homelessness. On July 27, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education released the Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program Non-Regulatory Guidance to help states, local educational agencies understand the new requirements under the McKinney-Vento Act, and provide recommendations on how they can implement the new changes to ensure that children and youth experiencing homelessness have equal access to educational opportunity.

Some of the changes to better serve children and youth experiencing homelessness established in the ESSA are as follows:

  • Clarify that local liaisons need to ensure that children experiencing homelessness have access to and receive early educational programs. 
  • Require collaboration and coordination among agencies and providers working with children and youth (i.e. homeless service providers, child welfare, and juvenile justice).
  • Remove barriers to enrollment for school applications, immunizations, health records, and residency policies. 
  • Retract “awaiting foster care placement” from the definition of “homeless children and Youth.”

These new provisions take effect on October 1, 2016.

Click here to read the guidance. 


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