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 homeless students.
Homeless students 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 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 in order 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
Every Maine school system has a local McKinney-Vento Liaison to assist families and unaccompanied youth who are experiencing housing instability. The Department’s NEO Contact Search can be used to locate the McKinney-Vento Liaison in any Maine school district.
Migrant Education Program State Director and Homeless Education Consultant
Office of School and Student Supports