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State Highlights

Some areas where Ohio has moved the needle relative to other states includes providing youth the opportunity to seek legal independence, allowing youth to access critical supports and services, maintaining an interagency council on homelessness, and promoting safety and inclusion by providing protections for LGBTQ youth within key state programs.

Law & Policy

  • State law does not specifically criminalize running away.
  • State law provides youth experiencing homelessness some contract rights.
  • State allows unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.

Systems

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

Environment

  • The state promotes safe and inclusive environments in child welfare and juvenile justice programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Buckeye State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy and Environment categories. Enacting and funding a state RHYA law, implementing a coordinated state government response to preventing and ending youth homelessness, and protecting the rights and interests of youth experiencing homelessness, including LGBTQ youth, 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.
  • Enact state law that allows youth in need of supervision to receive services without court involvement.
  • Implement a grievance process for students experiencing homelessness that complies with federal law.

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.

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

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