In January of 2002, Congress authorized the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to
assist families and youth experiencing homelessness. This Act entitles children who lack a
fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence to a free, appropriate education and requires
schools to remove barriers to their enrollment, attendance and success in school.

The McKinney-Vento Program meets the needs of homeless students attending Voyager
Academy by addressing academic challenges and family issues affecting their success in

Example living situations that may qualify include, but are not limited to:
• Living with a friend, relative or other person/family because of a loss of housing
• Staying in a motel or hotel because of a loss of housing or fleeing domestic violence
• Living in an emergency shelter, transitional housing or domestic violence shelter
• Living in a car, park or public place, abandoned building or bus station
• Living temporarily in substandard housing
• Living in a campground or an inadequate trailer home
• Living in a runaway or homeless youth shelter
• Youth living on their own, even if their families want them to come home

The McKinney-Vento Program also meets the needs of “a youth not in the physical custody of a
parent or guardian” (42 USC §11434a(6), 2001). Youth not in the physical custody of a parent
or guardian and lacking a fixed, regular and adequate residence are referred to
as unaccompanied homeless youth. Youth who run away are also eligible for services even if
the parent/guardian wishes the student to return home. Some reasons a youth may be on
his/her own include, but is not limited to, family dysfunction, parental neglect and abuse
(emotional, physical, sexual, or substance), incarceration, illness and deportation. Runaway
youth and unaccompanied homeless youth are eligible to be enrolled immediately without a
legal guardian. Under the McKinney-Vento Program, there is no age limit for an unaccompanied
homeless or runaway youth as long as the student is eligible for K-12 public education in NC.
Schools must immediately alert the School Social Worker or the McKinney-Vento Program
Specialist if presented with a possible runaway or unaccompanied homeless youth.

Requesting Services: The provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act supersede any state law or
local policy that may conflict with this act. Services provided include immediate enrollment,
school selection promoting stability, nutrition and academic support. McKinney-Vento services
are provided for the duration of a school year and do not automatically renew. The School
Social Worker assess for eligibility. To obtain more information about services provided and how
to access services, please contact the School Social Worker, Cindy Gittens via email
( and/or by telephone (919-433-3301 ext. 146). The McKinneyVento brochure can be viewed at McKinney-Vento Brochure.

Contact Information

Voyager Academy Liaison:
Cindy Gittens, School Social Worker
919-433-3301 ext. 146

State Contacts:
Patricia Lentz, Program Specialist
(336) 315-7402

Lisa Phillips, State Coordinator
(336) 315-7491