Quick Facts: Arkansas

Performance Breakdown
  • Law & Policy: 48% 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: 57% 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: 39% of metrics met 
       

  • Systems: 39% of metrics met 
     
  • Environment: 0% of metrics met

State Score 2022: 38
State Ranking 2022: 50

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2022 Score

2021 Score

34

38

Arkansas Highlights

An area where Arkansas has moved the needle relative to other states is 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 in certain circumstances and allows young adults under 21 to opt back into services after exiting if needed.

  • 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.

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Systems

  • The state provides tuition waivers for foster youth.

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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

  • 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 which allows shelters to take in homeless youth with a delay or waiver of notification requirements.

  • Enact regulations which explicitly allow partial and alternative school credit accrual for homeless youth.

  • Allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage (without parental consent).

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Systems

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

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Environment

  • The state should establish and maintain stipends for a community advisory board 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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