Today, the U.S. Department of Education released guidance to states and school districts on the new provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for supporting students experiencing homelessness. The new guidance ensures such students have the educational rights and protections they need to succeed later in life.

“Homeless children and youth face a number of barriers to getting the education they deserve and the services they need to succeed in school and beyond,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “As a kid, home was a scary and unpredictable place for me and I moved around a lot after my parents passed away. I know from my own experience and from my conversations with homeless students that school can save lives. It is our hope that the guidance we are releasing today will serve as a tool to help states and districts better serve homeless children and youth – we can and we must do better.”

As part of ESSA, the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youths program was reauthorized. The amended McKinney-Vento Act provides new protections for youth experiencing homelessness and equips local partners with essential tool for implementing new provisions in ESSA and will take effect October 1, 2016.

Including the identification of homeless children and youth, and ensuring coordination with other service providers, the guidance will ensure preschool-aged children also receive services.

To learn more about the guidance, the Department has released a fact sheet for teachers, principals, counselors, and other school staff. The fact sheet provides an overview of the needs of students experiencing homelessness and the protections they are entitled to by law under McKinney-Vento Act.

Read the full guidance here.