Quick Facts: Alabama

State Score 2021: 49
State Ranking 2021: 33

Performance Breakdown

  • Law & Policy: 69% of metrics met
     
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 58% of metrics met 
       

    • Preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems: 52% of metrics met 
       

    • Providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently: 88% of metrics met 
       

    • Addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness: 100% of metrics met 
       

    • Allowing youth experiencing homelessness to access critical supports and services: 78% of metrics met 
       

  • Systems: 22% of metrics met 
     
  • Environment: 0% of metrics met

2021 Score

2020 Score

49

43

State Highlights

Alabama has moved the needle relative to other states in addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness and providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently.

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Law & Policy

  • The state has extended foster care to age 21 and allows young adults under 21 to opt back into services after exiting if needed.
     

  • The state explicitly allows partial and alternative school credit accrual for homeless youth through regulations.

  • The state explicitly allows unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage (without parental consent).

  • The state does not consider runaway youth as delinquent or a status offender. 

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Systems

  • Youth are able to obtain state-issued identification cards without parental consent in certain circumstances. 

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Environment

  • None.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for significant improvement throughout the metrics for the Yellowhammer State across all categories. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness, crafting statewide plans to address homelessness that contains a youth- specific component, designating agencies to develop and enforce these plans, and protecting the rights and interests of youth experiencing homelessness, including LGBTQ youth, should be prioritized.

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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 a state law that allows shelters to take in homeless youth with a delay or waiver of notification requirements.

  • Enact a law that gives minors the right to enter into contracts for certain purposes (e.g. necessities).

  • Allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.

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Systems

  • Create a comprehensive statewide plan to end homelessness that includes a strategy to prevent and end youth homelessness and 
    LGBTQ youth homelessness.

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

  • Create an Interagency Council on Homelessness that mirrors the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), providing a multi-sector approach to preventing and ending youth homelessness.

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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.

  • Promote 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. •    Ban harmful and ineffective service provision that includes conversion therapy.

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