Answer: The analysis should focus on the student’s living situation; but the parent’s or guardian’s living situation also can be a factor. With respect to choosing the school of origin versus the local school, the McKinney-Vento Act states that, “The choice regarding placement shall be made regardless of whether the child or youth lives with the homeless parents or has been temporarily placed elsewhere.” That statement addresses situations where parents are experiencing homelessness and have sent their children to stay somewhere else. That “somewhere else” may be a fixed, regular and adequate for the caregiver who lives there, but it is not fixed or regular (and perhaps not adequate) for the child placed there due to homelessness. In the example you shared, a parent was staying in a motel or park and sent her daughter to live with a grandparent. The student is McKinney-Vento eligible. Using the same example, if the child stays with grandmother long-term and grandmother succeeds in getting custody, and grandmother’s housing is fixed, regular and adequate for the student, the student at that point no longer would qualify.
This bottom line comes down to evaluating fixed, regular and adequate from the student’s point of view, and re-evaluating it over time.