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State Highlights

Idaho has not moved the needle relative to other states in any key areas, but there are some individual policies worth highlighting.

Law and Policy

Law & Policy

  • State law provides youth experiencing homelessness some contract rights.
  • The state allows unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.

Systems

Systems

  • The state provides postsecondary tuition waivers for foster youth.

Environment

Environment

    • The state maintains a community advisory board for youth that informs youth homelessness policy. 

    The state promotes safe and inclusive environments in child welfare programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement  across metrics for the Gem State. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness, preventing their contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems, addressing their educational needs, creating a statewide strategy to end homelessness that includes a youth-specific strategy, and 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 state law that allows youth in need of care to receive services without court involvement.
  • Declassify running away as a status or delinquent offense.
  • Implement a grievance process for students experiencing homelessness that complies with federal law, and take action to ensure youth can earn partial and alternative school credit.

Systems

Systems

  • Create a comprehensive statewide plan to end homelessness that includes a strategy to prevent and end youth homelessness and LGBTQ youth homelessness. that includes a plan 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.
  • Create an Interagency Council on Homelessness that mirrors the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), providing a multi-sector approach to prevent and end youth homelessness.

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.
  • Promote safe and inclusive environments in 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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