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State Highlights

Alaska has moved the needle relative to other states in providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently.

Law and Policy

Law & Policy

  • State law does not specifically criminalize running away.
  • State law provides partial or full contract rights for youth experiencing homelessness.
  • The state allows unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.

Systems

Systems

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness that contains a youth-specific strategy component. 
  • There is a state interagency council on homelessness.
  • The state allows youth to obtain a state-issued identification card without parental consent.

Environment

Environment

  • None

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics in the Last Frontier state, with emphasis on the Environment category. Protecting the rights and interests of youth experiencing homelessness, including LGBTQ youth, should be prioritized.

Law and Policy

Law & Policy

  • Enact and fund a state law similar to the federal RHYA to provide key intervention and emergency services for youth experiencing homelessness.
  • Enact a state law that allows youth in need of care to receive services without court involvement.
  • Implement a grievance process for students experiencing homelessness that complies with federal law.

Systems

Systems

  • As part of the state plan to prevent and end youth homelessness, include a strategy to address homelessness among LGBTQ youth.
  • Create a state entity - such as an Office of Homeless Youth Services -  that focuses solely on designing, implementing, and evaluating youth homelessness programs.

Environment

Environment

  • Organize and maintain a self-governing youth action board or council to inform youth homelessness policy within the state.
  • Require training about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, healthy sexual development, or issues specific to LGBTQ youth for staff working in runaway and homeless youth systems.
  • Promote safe and inclusive environments in child welfare, juvenile justice, and runaway and homeless youth programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Ban controversial and ineffective service provision that includes conversion therapy.

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