Answer: The best solution would be for your State Pre-K program to provide automatic eligibility for children experiencing homelessness. That way, they would not have to prove income. State Pre-K could accept referrals from liaisons, family shelters and other sources, and also use the enrollment forms that public schools use to identify students experiencing homelessness. That kind of referral and enrollment process also could help programs prioritize homeless children for enrollment and collect data on the need to reserve slots specifically for children experiencing homelessness.

If homeless families can’t access Pre-K because they lack documents to prove income, that would be a barrier to preschool enrollment that would violate the McKinney-Vento Act. Providing automatic eligibility would eliminate the paperwork burden on families and on State Pre-K. For more information on the McKinney-Vento Act and preschool, see our PreK-12 resource page.

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