Housing Instability in School-Age Children: Did You Know?

Posted on August 17, 2023

Did You Know?

1. The Maine Department of Education and Maine schools follow the provisions of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which aims to minimize the educational disruptions experienced by students experiencing housing instability. Students in temporary housing situations are guaranteed the right to a free, appropriate, public education. They can remain enrolled in the schools they have been attending even if they are temporarily staying out of the district but also have the right to enroll in their new school of residence. To minimize the risk of students missing school during periods of housing instability, enrollment should be immediate, even if families cannot provide typically required documents and immunization records right away. Schools must provide transportation for students who need it to attend school. McKinney-Vento protections apply to all public-school students, pre-K through grade 12 who “lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime 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
  • Abandoned in hospitals
  • 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

For Families: McKinney-Vento (2 minute video)

2. Did you know every school district in Maine has a specific staff person dedicated to identifying and supporting homeless children and youth, called the McKinney-Vento Liaison?

You can contact Amelia Lyons, Homeless Education State Coordinator, at 207-557-1787 or amelia.lyons@maine.gov to find your local liaison. Or you can look up the liaison through the primary contact search at this link: https://neo.maine.gov/DOE/neo/Supersearch/ContactSearch/ContactSearchByType

Watch this 5 minute video for an overview of the program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srGzOoBqqe0

3. Did you know unaccompanied homeless youth can consent to their own medical care?

Me. Rev. Stat. §22:1503

A minor may give consent to all medical, mental, dental, and other health counseling and services if the minor is living separately from parents or legal guardians and is independent of parental support. The minor may prove that status with documentation including, but not limited to, a written statement from a nonprofit homeless services agency, local educational agency McKinney-Vento homeless liaison, or attorney.

Watch this 2 minute video to hear from students who qualified as McKinney-Vento eligible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=lBCW7mD-P5g

Questions? Contact Amelia Lyons, Homeless Education State Coordinator, at 207-557-1787 or amelia.lyons@maine.gov