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State Highlights

Some areas where Oklahoma has moved the needle relative to other states include allowing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness to live independently and maintaining a multi-sector approach to ending homelessness.

Law and Policy

Law & Policy

  • State law provides youth experiencing homelessness some contract rights.
  • State law allows shelters to take in youth experiencing homelessness with a delay or waiver of notification requirements.

Systems

Systems

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness.
  • There is a state interagency council on homelessness.
  • The state provides tuition waivers for foster youth.

Environment

Environment

  • None.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Sooner State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy and Environment categories. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness, as well as 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 supervision 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.
  • Ensure through law or regulation that students experiencing homelessness are able to earn partial or alternative school credits and implement a grievance process for homeless students that complies with federal law.

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 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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