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Working with Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness

According to the Administration for Children and Families, about 1 in 36 children in Maine are experiencing homelessness each day. It is important for early childhood and out-of-school time programs to be prepared to serve children and families experiencing homelessness. This page outlines a selection of resources that can help you prepare to support children and families who may be homeless.


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:


How can you identify families experiencing homelessness?

It’s very likely that you may not know if a family is experiencing homelessness. According to the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth:

Early childhood programs may not be aware of family homelessness in their communities. Most families experiencing homelessness stay in a variety of unstable situations, including staying temporarily with other people because they have nowhere else to go, or in motel rooms. These largely hidden living arrangements make outreach and identification a challenge. In addition, homeless service providers often lack awareness of the unique needs of young children, and may not know how to serve them.


To Learn More:

The following is a selection of state and national resources that will help you prepare to support children and families experiencing homelessness: