Posted in ECE Information

Working with Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness

We are sharing a new resource recently added to the Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ) website about supporting children and families that are experiencing homelessness.

As providers we need to be informed about what homelessness is before we can begin to meet a child’s need that is experiencing it. Sadly, too many children in Maine do not need this definition, they have experienced “homelessness” first-hand.

What is the definition of “homeless”?

Section 725 of the federal McKinney-Vento Education Assistance Act defines “homeless” as “lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” This includes families:

  • Sharing housing with other people due to loss of housing or economic hardship
  • Living in motels or hotels
  • Living in trailer/RV parks or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations
  • Spending nights in non-housing situations, such as sleeping in a car or bus station
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Families experiencing homelessness face many challenges. Having access to quality child care can lessen some the challenges and developmental risks for children experiencing homelessness. Knowing their child is in a safe, nurturing and reliable environment, parents can put more of their focus on reaching their goals for stability in housing.

MRTQ’s page outlines a selection of resources that can help you prepare to support children and families who may be homeless.

If you have a family experiencing homelessness now, how can you as a provider immediately connect them with child care assistance?

  • Contact Maine’s Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) State Administrator for assistance with connecting families to child care subsidy, subsidized child care programs (i.e., Head Start, Educare, etc.), and child care program enrollment.

Author:

FCCAM works to unify, promote and strengthen quality professional family child care in Maine. We are the state affiliate of the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). We are the only professional association in Maine dedicated specifically to supporting family child care providers. FCCAM understands the critical role of family child care providers in the lives of children and families. We also understand the hard work and long hours that are required to provide the much needed child care services in Maine’s diverse communities. FCCAM provides opportunities to network both locally and statewide with other family child care professionals for training and support. Through collaboration with other organizations we are engaged with advocating for children and their families in Maine, increasing awareness of our professionalism and value to our communities.