Foster and McKinney-Vento Program

Helping Students and Families

All youth should have the opportunity for educational success, no matter what their housing or family situation may be. The Foster Youth and McKinney-Vento Program within Student Services at Downey Unified School District strives to provide every student with a 21st Century education through the utilization of comprehensive services that address attendance, maximize educational achievements, enhance social-emotional well-being, and include all stakeholders.

smiling kids

Program Goals

going to school

Our department’s goal is to provide comprehensive services that will assist the student in achieving a successful and rewarding educational experience in Downey Unified School District. Our program personnel work in collaboration with school personnel and community service agencies in an effort to maximize access to various educational, social and enrichment programs which promote academic success and student achievement.

Meet Our Team

Michelle headshot

Michelle Toscano
(562) 469-6500 ext. 4491

Schools Assigned
  • Downey High School (Foster Youth Only)
  • Gallatin Elementary School
  • Rio Hondo Elementary School
  • Rio San Gabriel Elementary School
  • Sussman Middle School
Gloria Arias

Gloria Milian-Flores
(562) 469-6500 ext. 2118

Schools Assigned
  • Alameda Elementary School
  • Carpenter ElementarySchool
  • Gauldin Elementary School
  • Imperial Elementary
  • Stauffer Middle School
  • Warren High School (Foster/McKinney-Vento)
Zuly Lee

Zuly Lee
(562) 469-6500 ext. 2150

Schools Assigned
  • Warren High School (Foster/McKinney-Vento)
  • Griffiths Middle School
  • Old River Elementary School
  • Price Elementary School
  • Ward Elementary School
  • Williams Elementary School
Charle Bracy

Wendy Valencia (562) 469-6500 ext. 2175
Schools Assigned
  • Lewis Elementary School
  • Unsworth Elementary School
  • Doty Middle School
  • Downey High School (McKinney-Vento Students Only)
  • Woodruff Academy
  • Columbus High School
  • PACE Non-Public School

Foster Youth

Who is considered foster youth:

A youth who is a court dependent under WIC 300 § (Welfare and Institution Code) and has an open DCFS case.

They may be in:

  • Out-of-Home Care (with a relative or foster home/group home)/Family Reunification (FR) and/or Permanent Placement (PP) services OR
  • Home of Parent/Family Maintenance (FM) services

Under Assembly Bill 490, foster youth are entitled to the following:

  • School Stability
  • Immediate Enrollment
  • School of Origin
  • Timely Transfer of Records
  • Partial Credits

It was the intent of this bill that with these safeguards in place, these youths would have an increased likelihood of obtaining their high school diploma and be better prepared to pursue post-secondary college and career opportunities.


Alliance for Children’s Rights

Advocates for children, young adults, and families impacted by foster care, so that they can access the support and services they need to thrive.
Visit Website

Helping kids in foster care reach their full potential. Visit Website
Department of Children & Family Services

DCFS works to protect children against abuse and/or neglect, find permanent homes for foster children and to educate the public.
Hotline: (800) 540-4000

Independent Living Program

In some circumstances this may be the best option.
Visit Website

foster youth rights poster thumbnail image

View poster for more information.

Foster Youth Bill of Rights Poster
A guide to your rights in foster care. View the poster

What is the McKinney-Vento Program?

The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law established to assist homeless children and youth with enrolling, attending and succeeding in school. The goal is that homeless youth are guaranteed the same educational services that all students are provided in order to meet challenging academic standards.

Who is eligible?

You may qualify for certain rights and protections under the federal McKinney-Vento Act if you live in any of the following situations:

  • Doubled up with other people due to loss of housing or economic hardship
  • In a shelter
  • Rent a room in another person’s house
  • In a converted garage
  • In a motel or campground due to the lack of an alternative adequate accommodation
  • In a car, park, abandoned building, or bus or train station

If your living situation has changed or is unstable, please complete the following Housing Questionnaire and reach out to your school’s perspective program specialist listed above.


LACOE Homeless Education Program

Coordinates and provides training and services to its 80 school district staff throughout LA County, to address the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and help with any issues a homeless student may be experiencing with enrollment and attending in school.

The Whole Child

This is the leading agency to address homelessness with families in the southeast Los Angeles County area (SPA 7) by providing housing assistance, where criteria is met.

Los Angeles Housing Services Authority (LAHSA)
LAHSA coordinates and manages the funds that are allocated for homeless programs, to help individuals with their housing needs. LAHSA oversees programs such as The Whole Child.
School House Connection
A national non-profit organization that provides ongoing training, and uses education to help address and overcome homelessness.
Shower of Hope
A mobile Shower Program that provides free showers to unhoused community members.

View poster for more information.
English  |  Spanish

News & Announcements

3rd Annual Connect Event

PATH and LIFE CENTER CHURCH will be hosting a community connect event on October 13, 2023 to provide social services for unhoused neighbors and surrounding communities.

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