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State Highlights

Some areas where Connecticut has moved the needle relative to other states includes preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems, addressing their educational needs, and elevating the voices of youth who have experienced homelessness by working with them throughout policy development.

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 youth experiencing homelessness some contract rights.

Systems

  • There is a state interagency council on homelessness.
  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness that contains youth-specific and LGBTQ youth-specific strategy components.

Environment

  • The state maintains a self-governing youth action board or council that informs youth homelessness policy.
  • Ending youth homelessness is a goal of the Executive branch
  • The state has banned conversion therapy for minors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
  • The state promotes 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.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Constitution State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy category. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness and addressing their educational needs should be prioritized.

Law & Policy

  • Enact and fund a state law similar to the federal RHYA to provide key intervention and emergency services for youth experiencing homelessness.
  • Implement a grievance process for students experiencing homelessness that complies with federal law.
  • Allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.

Systems

  • Create a state entity - such as an Office of Homeless Youth Services - that focuses solely on designing, implementing, and evaluating youth homelessness programs.

Environment

  • 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.

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