•School Homeless Liaison:

–The School Homeless Liaison ensures that homeless children and youth are identified, enrolled, and receive educational services for which they are eligible. Based on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, there is a homeless liaison in every school district

•Keeping Maine’s Children Connected (KMCC) Liaison:

–The KMCC Liaison facilitates communication among those involved with the youth to determine who are the best people to assist in a plan to support the youth in transition. There is a liaison in every school district, regional state agency office, in-patient psychiatric facility, residential facility and correctional facility.

Defining The Issues: Nationally and In Maine

•There are 1.35 million children experiencing homelessness during a year in the US (NCFH, 2002).

• More than 500,000 children live outside of their homes due to child welfare concerns across the country (American Academy of Pediatrics,2000).

•More than 106,000 teens are in U.S. juvenile facilities on an average day (Crown, 2002).

School Disruption: Spiraling Out of Control, US Figures

•15 to 18% of school-aged children changed residence from the previous year.

•Nearly 12 million children changed their place of residence from 1999 to 2000

•Approximately 30% of children in low-income families change schools annually versus 8% of children in families well above poverty level. (2004 U.S. Census)

School Disruption: Spiraling Out of Control, US Figures on Poverty and Housing

•The 2008 Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is $21,200 for a family of four, $17,600 for a family of three, and $14,000 for a family of two. (US Federal Register, 2008. Volume 23, #15)

•On average, families need an income twice as high as the Federal Poverty Level to meet their most basic needs. (Cauthen, 2006).

•One in seven US households – 37.3 million – has severe housing cost burdens. Most of these households (78%) are in the bottom quarter of the income distribution (earning $23,000 or less annually). (Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 2007).

School Disruption:Homeless Youth Impact on Education

•26% to 40% of youth in foster care repeated one or more grades nationally (Muskie Institute)

•Homeless children are twice as likely to repeat a grade, because of frequent absences (Better Homes Fund,1999). Within a year:

–41% attend two different schools

–28% attend three or more different schools

•20% of homeless children do not attend school (Better Homes Fund, 1999).

Impact on Education in Maine

•Following 76 youth from 5 school districts over a 16 month period, 84 disruptions occurred.

–Only 66% of these youth were promoted to the next grade----compared to a promotion rate of 97% for secondary youth in Maine. (Keeping Maine’s Children Connected study, Muskie, 2006)

Who is Homeless?

•An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence, including children and youth:

–sharing housing due to loss of housing or economic hardship

–living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate housing

–living in emergency or transitional housing

Who is Homeless?

•Including children and youth:

–abandoned in hospitals

–awaiting foster care

–having a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, regular sleeping accommodations

–living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations

–migratory students meeting the descriptions above

Five Principles

A framework to address the needs and challenges of children and youth who experience school disruption

•Treat all children with respect:do not stigmatize

•Make all children feel safe in their schools and community

•Think of the needs of the whole child

•Work with parents/guardians/family to develop concrete goals and programs

•Reach out to the community

For More Information Contact:

Susan Fossett, McKinney-Vento Winthrop District Liaison

(207) 377-2241 Ext. 5012


Amelia Lyons

Migrant Education Program State Director and Homeless Education Consultant

Office of School and Student Supports

(207) 557-1787

Department of Education