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State Highlights

Wyoming has moved the needle relative to other states in providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently.

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.

Systems

Systems

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness that contains a youth-specific strategy component.

Environment

Environment

  • None.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Equality State, throughout the Law & Policy, Systems, and Environment categories. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness, allowing youth experiencing homelessness to access critical supports and services, and protecting the rights and interests of 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.
  • Extend services beyond 18 for youth in child welfare or juvenile justice jurisdiction. 
  • Allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.
  • Allow shelters to take in youth experiencing homelessness with a delay or waiver of notification requirements. 
  • Allow partial and alternative school credit accrual for youth experiencing homelessness.

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), providing a multi-sectoral 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 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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