Quick Facts: Arkansas

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  • Law & Policy: 52% of metrics met
     
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 33% of metrics met 
       

    • Preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems: 62% 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: 17% of metrics met 
       

    • Allowing youth experiencing homelessness to access critical supports and services: 50% of metrics met 
       

  • Systems: 17% of metrics met 
     
  • Environment: 0% of metrics met

State Score 2020: 37

State Ranking 2020: 44

Arkansas Highlights

Some areas where Arkansas has moved the needle relative to other states include limiting contact by youth experiencing homelessness with the criminal and juvenile legal systems and providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently.

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Law & Policy

  • The state doesn’t consider running away a criminal offense.
     

  • The state gives minors contract rights OR allows them to enter into binding contracts for certain purposes (e.g. necessities).
     

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

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Systems

  • None

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Environment

  • None

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement across the metrics for the Natural State. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness, addressing their educational needs, and protecting the rights and interests of vulnerable youth experiencing homelessness, including LGBTQ youth, should be prioritized.

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Law & Policy

  • The state should pass a law that funds and provides oversight and regulation to youth homelessness services.

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Systems

  • The state should create and adopt a public plan to end homelessness that includes youth (and specifically LGBTQ+ youth).
     

  • The state should create an entity – such as an Office of Youth Homelessness Services – that focuses solely on designing, implementing, and evaluating youth homelessness programs.

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Environment

  • The state should establish and maintain a stipended community advisory board for youth that informs youth homelessness policy (Youth Action Board).
     

  • The state should require training about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, healthy sexual development or issues specific to LGBTQ+ youth for staff working in RHY Systems.
     

  • The state should establish nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ youth in youth homelessness services.

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