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State Highlights

Some areas where North Carolina has moved the needle relative to other states include preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems and providing youth the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently. 

Law and Policy

Law & Policy

  • The state allows youth in foster care to access extended foster care services to age 21 under certain circumstances and allows youth who have exited the foster care system after 18 to re-enter through the age of 21.
  • State law does not specifically criminalize running away.
  • State law provides youth experiencing homelessness some contract rights.

Systems

Systems

  • There is a state interagency council on homelessness.
  • The state provides tuition waivers for foster youth. 
  • Youth are able to obtain state-issued identification cards without parental consent.

Environment

Environment

  • None.

 

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Tar Heel State across all categories. 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 a state law that allows youth in need of supervision to receive services without court involvement.
  • Allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.

Systems

Systems

  • Draft and publish a comprehensive statewide plan to prevent end 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.

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. 
  • Ban controversial and ineffective service provision that includes conversion therapy.

 

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