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State Highlights

Some areas where New Mexico has moved the needle relative to other states include providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently, addressing their educational needs, and allowing them to access critical supports and services.

Law and Policy

Law & Policy

  • State law allows youth in need of supervision to receive services without court involvement.
  • State law does not specifically criminalize running away.
  • State law provides partial or full contract rights for homeless youth.
  • 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.

Environment

Environment

  • 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 programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

 

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Land of Enchantment, with emphasis on the Law & Policy category. Enacting and funding a state RHYA law, implementing a coordinated state government response to youth 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 law or regulation to allow shelters to take in youth experiencing homelessness with a delay or waiver of notification requirements.

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.
  • Create an Interagency Council on Homelessness that mirrors the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to facilitate a multi-sector approach to preventing and ending youth homelessness.

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 juvenile justice and runaway and homeless youth programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

 

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