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State Highlights

Some areas where Minnesota has moved the needle relative to other states include laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness, allowing them to access critical supports and services, and implementing a multi-sectoral approach to addressing youth homelessness.

Law & Policy

  • State does not criminally punish youth who run away.
  • State allows unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.
  • State has RHY legislation similar to the federal Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) that provides funding for emergency services and other supports to prevent and end youth homelessness.

Systems

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness that contains a youth-specific strategy component.
  • The state has created an entity that focuses solely on designing, implementing, and evaluating youth homelessness programs.
  • There is a state interagency council on homelessness.
  • Provides tuition waivers for foster youth.

Environment

  • The state elevates the voices of youth by including them in policymaking decisions as it pertains to youth homelessness policy and programs.
  • The state promotes safe and inclusive environments in child welfare programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the North Star State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy category. Providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently should be prioritized.

Law & Policy

  • Enact a state law that allows youth in need of supervision to receive services without court involvement.
  • Pass legislation that gives youth experiencing homelessness some contract rights.
  • Implement a grievance process for students experiencing homelessness that complies with federal law.

Systems

  • Create a system within the State Department of Transportation to address proof of residency requirements to receive a state-issued identification card.

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.
  • Ban controversial and ineffective service provision that includes conversion therapy.
  • Promote safe and inclusive environments in juvenile justice and runaway and homeless youth programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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