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

thFamilies 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.