Alone Without a Home: A National Review of State Laws Affecting Unaccompanied Youth

Paper/Research Report
Published: February, 2019
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and National Network for Youth

This report reviews the status of current law in all 50 states and 6 territories related to 13 key issues that affect the lives of unaccompanied youth who experience homelessness. It offers an overview of the range of approaches taken by states since the last update in 2012, and the relative prevalence of these approaches. Key findings include: 1) Many jurisdictions lag behind in implementing changes to federal law that strengthen access to education for youth experiencing homelessness; 2) Punitive approaches to unaccompanied youth are prevalent in many jurisdictions; 3) Definitions of unaccompanied youth often fail to be inclusive, developmentally appropriate, and nonjudgmental; 4) Many jurisdictions authorize or require provision of health care, education, and other services to unaccompanied youth even in the absence of parental consent; and 5) Most jurisdictions provide youth with some ability to act on their own behalf. This collaborative publication from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and the National Network for Youth recommends policy changes to help protect the safety, development, health, and dignity of youth experiencing homelessness, and thus increase their prospects for positive future outcomes. (author abstract modified)

Available free of charge on the National Network for Youth website at:
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