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State Highlights

Some areas where Ohio has moved the needle relative to other states include providing youth the opportunity to seek legal independence, allowing youth to access critical supports and services,  maintaining a multi-sector approach to ending homelessness, and promoting safety and inclusion by providing protections for LGBTQ youth within key state programs. 

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 provides youth experiencing homelessness some contract rights.
  • The state allows unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.
  • The state allows youth to earn partial or alternative school credit.

Systems

Systems

  • There is a state interagency council on homelessness.

Environment

Environment

  • The state promotes safe and inclusive environments in child welfare and 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 Buckeye State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy and Environment categories. Enacting and funding a state RHYA law, implementing a coordinated state government response to preventing and ending 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.
  • Reduce opportunities for contact between youth experiencing homelessness and the criminal and juvenile justice systems by declassifying running away as a status or delinquent offense.
  • Enact state law that allows youth in need of supervision to receive services without court involvement.
  • Enact a law or regulation to allow shelters to take in youth experiencing homelessness with a delay or waiver of notification requirements.

Systems

Systems

  • Publish a comprehensive state plan to prevent and end youth homelessness, including 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 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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