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State Highlights

Some areas where Connecticut has moved the needle relative to other states include addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness and elevating the voices of youth who have experienced homelessness by working with them throughout policy development.

Law and Policy

Law & Policy

  • The state explicitly allows partial and alternative school credit accrual for homeless youth through regulations. 
  • 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.
  • The state has extended foster care to age 23 in certain circumstances and allows young adults to opt back into services after exiting if needed.

Systems

Systems

  • There is a state interagency council on homelessness.
  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness that contains youth-specific strategy components.  
  • The state has systems in place to address proof of residency requirements to receive a state-issued identification card and allows youth to obtain state-issued identification without parental consent.

Environment

Environment

  • The state maintains a self-governing youth action board or council that informs youth homelessness policy.
  • Ending youth homelessness is a goal of the Executive branch.
  • The state has banned conversion therapy for minors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.  
  • The state promotes 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.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Constitution State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy category. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness and addressing their educational needs 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 which allows shelters to take in homeless youth with a delay or waiver of notification requirements. 
  • Allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.

Systems

Systems

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

Environment

Environment

  • 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.

 

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