Alone WIthout a Home: A State-By-State Review of Laws Affecting Unaccompanied Youth

Year Published: 2012

Each year, an estimated 1.6 million children and youth (ages 12-17) experience homelessness without a parent or guardian. Whether runaway or throwaway, once on the street, unaccompanied homeless youth face many legal barriers that often complicate their attempts to meet basic needs on their own and keep them from reaching out for assistance from state agencies and service providers. In this 251-page report, the authors review the state of current law in 12 key issue areas that affect the lives and future prospects of unaccompanied homeless youth in the U.S. states and six territories. They review the range of approaches taken by states, and offer recommendations for policy change in each issue area to strengthen supports available to unaccompanied youth. These recommendations focus on removing the barriers that now prevent unaccompanied youth from receiving the help they need to establish safe and stable homes, whether reunited with their families when safe and appropriate, under other adult supervision, or independently with appropriate services and support.

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