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Homeless and Foster Youth » Homeless & Foster Youth - Education Rights

Homeless & Foster Youth - Education Rights


The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act) (42 U.S.C. § 11431-11435) is federal legislation that ensures the educational rights and protections of children and youths experiencing homelessness. It requires all local educational agencies (LEAs) to ensure that homeless students have access to the same free, appropriate public education, including public preschools, as provided to other children and youths. The McKinney-Vento Act defines LEAs as public school districts, direct-funded and locally funded charter schools, and county offices of education. The McKinney-Vento Act also authorizes the funding for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program.



WIN: A Mobile App for LA’s Homeless & Struggling Youth, Families & Adults – In the APP Stores

Our Community LA (OCLA) is a Los Angeles nonprofit organization that leverages technology to improve support and resource connections for homeless or resource insecure individuals, particularly youth under 25 and families who are under-served and at-risk. Children, youth, and vulnerable adults represent the economic and political future of our region and they deserve careful attention and increased community support.

WIN is a free mobile and web app designed to connect homeless or resource insecure youth ages 12-25, as well as families, adults, and seniors, to essential services- all accessible without a referral. Developed by Our Community LA with guidance from our region’s unaccompanied youth, WIN users can search a database of over 2000 essential service providers and connect to 12 categories of resources.


WIN is the First and Only Mobile App Designed for and with Los Angeles’ Homeless

Over 94% of homeless individuals use a smart device, even more, homeless students, and adults heads of families have cell phones and access to computers. The problem too many face is that too many do not know how to find reliable and up-to-date information about the shelter, food, jobs, and other services they need.


Our Community LA (formerly known as Our Children LA) seeks to empower anyone who is homeless or at-risk of homelessness by offering them free access to an easy-to-use mobile app that connects them to nearby services. WIN's design reflects a collaboration between the OCLA leadership, dedicated volunteers, and participating homeless youth at various drop-in centers around Los Angeles County. (Why Youth?  because they are quite tech-savvy!) Originally launched in Fall 2015, in October 2018, OCLA released an updated and fully redesigned WIN with many new features. Most importantly WIN was expanded to serve not only youth but also all families and adults! In the Fall of 2020, OCLA expanded to include Senior Only Services.

Foster Youth  Information and Services

If you are a foster parent or a foster student at WISH, please reach out to your grade-span counselor and our Foster Youth Liaison Kimberlie Traceski to ensure we are providing all of the supports needed to be successful scholars and achieve both academic and social-emotional goals.  We are here to help! 


LACOE Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program FYSCP helps connect Students in Foster Care who need additional academic support with tutoring services.  If you are a foster parent or a student currently in foster care, please contact Kimberlie Traceski ([email protected]) for more information about this program.  You can also call the Foster Youth Services Hotline at 562 922 6161

October is the start of FAFSA season  - The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the main hub for all college goers to apply for federal and state grants (free money) as well as public loans (borrowed money). If you are applying to college for the 2022-2023 school year, make sure you complete the FAFSA ASAP to ensure you have the best possible opportunity to find financial support for your higher education.  Visit to begin the FAFSA process.
JOIN iFOSTER: : iFoster is a national nonprofit with over 60,000 members across all 50 states.  iFoster's mission is to ensure that every child growing up outside of their biological home has the resources and opportunities they need to become successful, independent adults.  For more information, visit their website:
* Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority -
* Safe Place for Youth -
* School on Wheels (Tutoring) -
* Upward Bound House -
* Downtown Women's Center -
* Enhanced Emergency Shelter -
* Catholic Charities -
       * Good Shepherd Center for Women & Children -
* Casa Libre - Unaccompanied Minors Shelter and Legal Support -
* 1736 Family Crisis Center -
Homeless & Foster Youth Liaison
WISH Community TK - 5 School Counselor
WISH Community 6-8 School Counselor
WISH Academy High School Counselors