McKinney-Vento & Foster Youth


All school-aged homeless children are entitled to the same free and appropriate public education that is provided to non-homeless students. Schools are required to remove barriers to the enrollment, attendance, and academic success of homeless students.

Definition of Homeless

Students between the ages of 0 and 22*, who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and includes:

  • Has a primary nighttime residence that is a shelter designated to provide temporary living accommodations such as shelters, motels/hotels, domestic violence shelters, and transitional housing.
  • Lives in a car, park, abandoned building, public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
  • Lives temporarily in a trailer park or camping area due to the lack of adequate living accommodations.
  • Lives “doubled-up" with another family, due to loss of housing, stemming from financial problems.
  • Is abandoned at a hospital.
  • Resides in a home for school-aged, unwed mother or mother-to-be, if there are no other available living accommodations.
  • Is awaiting foster care in limited circumstances but does not include placement in a foster family, foster family agency or group home.
  • As placed by the state in an emergency shelter due to lack of alternative housing.
  • Is an abandoned, runaway or pushed out youth or migratory child living in any of the circumstances described above.

*Extended beyond compulsory attendance age to address the needs of preschool, early head-start, and student with special education needs.

School Selection & Student Rights

Homeless student can attend the last school of enrollment, if feasible, or Homeless student can attend the school in the area where the family is temporarily residing. Your child or children may have the right to:

  • Immediate enrollment in the school they last attended (school of origin) or the local school where you are currently staying, even if you do not have all the documents normally required at the time of enrollment.
  • Continue to attend their school of origin, if requested by you and it is in the best interest.
  • Receive transportation to and from their school of origin, the same special programs and services, if needed, as provided to all other children, including free meals and Title I.
  • Receive the full protections and services provided under all federal and state laws, as it relates to homeless children, youth, and their families.
  • Student can remain at selected school site throughout the duration of homelessness. The school site is considered the school of origin.
  • If the family gains permanent housing, the student can remain at the current school for the duration of that academic year.
  • Homeless students who are not attending their school of residence do not have the right to attend the next matriculating school. The student must attend the school in the area in which he/she is temporarily residing.


Schools must immediately enroll homeless students, regardless of the lack of:

  • Academic Records    
  • Proof of Residency   
  • Medical Records   
  • Immunization Records


Click on the title of the organization to find additional information about their services.


Waymakers Teen Shelter

Short-term, crisis intervention to homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth in OC, Emergency shelter, 24 hour supervision, individual, group, and family counseling.

Laguna Beach: (949) 494-4311
Huntington Beach: (949) 842-6600 

Casa Youth Shelter

Short-term and long-term placement programs to provide basic needs for youth and individual, group, and family counseling.

(800) 914-CASA or (800-914-2272)

Hope Harbor

Temporary housing and care for teen girls 12 - 17 who are runaways or at risk for homelessness because of volatile family situations. Need willingness and participation from both teen and parents. Need to call to initiate intake process to determine eligibility and suitability to program.

(714) 832-0207 


Families Forward

Help families achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through housing, food, counseling, education, and other support services to OC families. 

(949) 552-2727 

FOR Families

Information, referral services, and short-term support for anyone living or working in Irvine needing assistance with services and resources.
Cost: Free for Irvine residents: $25 for non-residents.

(949) 724-6600

Orangewood Foundation Resource Center

Offers comprehensive supports (housing, jo training, food, hygiene, and clothing items) for families experiencing homelessness.

(714) 619-0252

Project Hope Alliance

Education and support for homeless families.

(949) 722-7836 

Family Promise

Emergency shelter for families.

(714) 787-3487



foster youth

school of origin

  • You have the right to stay in the same school after you move to a new foster care placement. Your “school of origin” can be:
    • The school you attended when you first entered foster care,
    • The school you most recently attended, or
    • Any school you attended in the last 15 months that you feel connected to.
  • Your school district must work with you, your education rights holder,* your caregiver, and your social worker/probation officer to develop a plan to transport you to your school of origin.
  • If you are transitioning from elementary school to middle school or from middle school to high school, you have the right to transition to the same school as your classmates.
  • If there is any disagreement about which school you will attend, you have the right to stay in your school of origin until the disagreement is resolved.

enrollment in school

  • You have the right to immediately enroll in your regular home school after you move placements.
  • You cannot be forced to attend a continuation school or other alternative education program, such as independent study, even if you are behind in credits or have discipline problems at school.
  • You have a right to immediately enroll in school and begin attending classes, even if you do not have the paperwork you would normally need for enrollment (such as birth certificate, transcript, or IEP) or you did not check-out from your previous school.
  • Your previous school must send your education records to your new school after you enroll.
  • You have the right to participate in any activities available at your new school, such as sports teams, tutoring, or after-school clubs, even if you miss a tryout or sign-up deadline.

partial credit policy

  • If you change schools during the school year, you have a right to partial credits in all classes that you are passing when you leave your old school, even if you do not complete the entire class.
  • After you change schools, your new school must accept the partial credits issued by your old school.
  • After you change schools, you have the right to be enrolled in the same or similar classes you were enrolled in at your last school.
  • You cannot be forced to retake a class or part of a class that you have already completed with a passing grade, if it would make you off-track for high school graduation.
  • You have the right to take or retake any class that you need to go to a California State University or University of California.
  • Your grade cannot be lowered because you were absent from school for a court hearing, placement change, or a court-related activity.

Graduation Rights

  • You have the right to stay in high school for a fifth year to complete your school district graduation requirements, even if you are over 18.
  • If you are behind on your credits, and you transferred schools after 10th grade, you may be eligible to graduate under AB 167/216 by completing only the state graduation requirements (130 credits in specific classes) instead of your school district’s requirements.
  • If you are eligible, the decision of whether to graduate under AB 167/216 is made by your education rights holder.

College Rights

  • You have the right to have the application fee waived when you apply to a community college in California.
  • You have the right to receive the maximum amount of federal student aid and you may be eligible for up to $5,000 per year from the Chafee scholarship.

school records

  • You have the right to access your school records if you are 16 years or older or have finished 10th grade.