Quick Facts: Colorado

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  • Law & Policy: 63% of metrics met
     
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 83% 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: 75% 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: 44% of metrics met 
       

  • Systems: 83% of metrics met 
     
  • Environment: 47% of metrics met

State Score 2020: 64

State Ranking 2020: 10

Colorado Highlights

Some areas where Colorado has moved the needle relative to other states include authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness, elevating the voices of youth who have experienced homelessness by partnering with them throughout policy development, and promoting safety and addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness.

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Law & Policy

  • The state has a state Runaway & Homeless Youth Act.
     

  • 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 partial and alternative school credit accrual for homeless youth through regulations.

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Systems

  • There is a state plan to end homelessness that includes a youth component.
     

  • There is a state entity (Office of homeless youth services, homeless youth state coordinator, commission on homeless youth, etc.) that focuses solely on youth homelessness.

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Environment

  • The state maintains a community advisory board for youth that informs youth homelessness policy.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Centennial State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy and Environment categories. 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 explicitly allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage without parental consent.
     

  • The state should allow shelters to take in youth experiencing homelessness with a delay or waiver of notification requirements.

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Systems

  • The state plan to end homelessness  should be updated to specifically include strategies to end homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth.
     

  • The state should allow youth to obtain state-issued identification without parental consent.

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Environment

  • 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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