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State Highlights

Some areas where Kentucky has moved the needle relative to other states include creating systems to address the needs of youth experiencing homelessness, providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently, and addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness.

Law and Policy

Law & Policy

  • State law provides partial or full contract rights for homeless youth.
  • The state has a grievance process in compliance with federal law.

Systems

Systems

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness that contains a youth-specific strategy component. 
  • The state has systems in place to address proof of residency requirements and does not require parental consent for youth to obtain state-issued identification cards. 
  • There is a state interagency council on homelessness.

Environment

Environment

  • The state promotes safe and inclusive environments in juvenile justice programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

 

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Bluegrass State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy and Environment categories. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness 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 a state law that allows youth in need of care to receive services without court involvement.
  • Declassify running away as a status or delinquent offense.
  • Allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.

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 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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