Homeless Liason

•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% ofschool-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 lessannually). (Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 2007).

School Disruption:Homeless Youth Impact on Education

•26% to 40% of youth in fostercare 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 notattend 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

Psychiatric Hospitals: Target Population and In-Patient Bed Capacity

Acadia Hospital, Bangor, Maine

Adolescent/YoungAdult Treatment Program: 18-bed unit providing acute care for adolescents and young adults up to 20 years old.

Children’sTreatment Program: 18-bed unit providing acute care for children ages 5 to 14 years old.

**Educational Program: Coordinated through Bangor Schools.

** These educational programs are officially approved through the Maine Department of Education.

Hampstead Hospital, Hampstead, New Hampshire

Children and Adolescent Treatment Program (CAP Unit): 23-bed unit that provides services to both acute and extended care for youth ages 10-17years old

Developmental Disabilities Program for Youth: 16-bed unit that provides services to both acute and extended care for youth ages 4 - 16 years old.

Developmental Disabilities Program for Young Adults and Adults: 10 bed unit that provides services to both acute and extended care for young adults and adults ages 16 - 26 yearsold.

Educational Program: Coordinated through Hampstead Hospital

Maine Medical Center, Portland

Treatment Program: 26-bed unit serving gero-psychiatric and med-psychiatric patients. The only adolescents served are those with acute medical needs co-occurring with their psychiatric illness.

Educational Program: There is no formal educational program offered on the unit.

Mercy Hospital Eating Disorder Program, Portland

Treatment Program: 12-bed capacity which includes the partial and in-patient program. There is a maximum of 12 people involved in the partial and in-patient program at a time.

Educational Program: Individual arrangements are made for each youth admitted to the program.

Northern Maine Medical Center, Fort Kent, Maine

Treatment Program: 7-bed unit that provides acute care for youth ages 4-to-18 years old.

**Educational Program: Coordinated through MSAD #27.

Portsmouth Pavilion, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Multi-Generational Unit: 4-bed capacity for adolescents ages 14-17 on a 22 bed-unit that primarily serves adults. This hospital only accepts private insurance and does not accept Maine Medicaid.

St Mary’s Hospital, Lewiston, Maine

Child and Adolescent Treatment Unit: 20-bed capacity providing acute care for children and adolescents up to and including 18 years old provided they are still in school.

Educational Program: Coordinated through Renaissance School.

Spring Harbor Hospital, South Portland, Maine

Multigenerational Unit: A 12-bed adolescent/young adult unit providing acute care to older adolescents or young adults, more appropriately served on a multi-generational unit.

Adolescent Treatment Unit: Two 14-bed units providing acute care for adolescents ages 13-17 years old. Adolescent units are single gender units.

Children’s Treatment Unit: 12-bed capacity providing acute care for children ages 4 –12years old.

**Educational Program: Coordinated through Spurwink

Developmental Disabilities Unit: 12-bed unit capacity providing acutecare and short-term behavioral assessments for children and young adults ages4-21 years old.

**Educational Program: Coordinated through Spring Harbor Hospital

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:

Shelley Reed, Department of Education:

Homeless, Truancy, Dropout, Alternative Education, School Counselors, and Reintegration of Youth from Correctional Facilities



Susan Lieberman, Keeping Maine’s Children Connected:


Website Addresses

•Keeping Maine’s Children Connected


•Dept of Education: Homeless Youth


•Department of Education: Truancy, Dropout, Alternative Education, School Counselors, Reintegration of Youth from Correctional Facilities