True Colors United
NLCHP logo

State Highlights

Delaware 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

  • The state has a law similar to the federal Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) that provides funding for emergency services and other supports to prevent and end youth homelessness. 
  • State law does not specifically criminalize running away.
  • The state allows shelters to take in homeless youth with a delay or waiver of notification requirements. 
  • 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.

Environment

Environment

  • The state has banned conversion therapy for minors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the First State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy and Environment categories. Laws addressing educational needs and protecting the rights and interests of youth experiencing homelessness, including LGBTQ youth, should be prioritized. 

Law and Policy

Law & Policy

  • 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.

 

Download The Fact Sheet

Download a print-friendly version of this state's scorecard.

DOWNLOAD