Quick Facts: District of Columbia

Performance Breakdown
  • Law & Policy: 86% of metrics met
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 92% of metrics met 

    • Preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems: 76% 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: 94% of metrics met 

  • Systems: 94% of metrics met 
  • Environment: 100% of metrics met

State Score 2021: 90
State Ranking 2021:  1

2021 Score

2020 Score



District of Columbia Highlights

The District of Columbia has moved the needle relative to other states in every category and is the first jurisdiction to earn the equivalent of an “A” grade on the State Index on Youth Homelessness.


Law & Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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

  • The District establishes protected class status based on one's sexual orientation and gender identity for runaway and homeless youth programs.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is limited room for improvement throughout the metrics for the District.


Law & Policy

  • The District should remove age restrictions for emancipation and waive parental consent requirements for emancipation.

  • The District should prohibit police from taking runaway youth and youth experiencing homelessness into custody.



  • The District should allow minors to obtain DC-issued identification without parental consent.



  • None

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