Quick Facts: Massachusetts

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  • Law & Policy: 75% 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: 86% 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: 33% of metrics met 
       

    • Allowing youth experiencing homelessness to access critical supports and services: 67% of metrics met 
       

  • Systems: 94% of metrics met 
     
  • Environment: 76% of metrics met

State Score 2020: 79

State Ranking 2020: 3

Massachusetts Highlights

Some areas where Massachusetts has moved the needle relative to other states include addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness, preventing their contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems, allowing them to access critical supports and services, creating systems to address their needs, and promoting safe and inclusive environments by providing protections for LGBTQ youth in key programs.

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

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

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Systems

  • 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.

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness.

    • The state plan has a "youth" component.

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Environment

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

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

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Bay State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy category.

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Law & Policy

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

  • The state should explicitly allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage without parental consent.

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Systems

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

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Environment

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

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