Quick Facts: Montana

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Performance Breakdown
  • Law & Policy: 54% of metrics met
     
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 25% of metrics met 
       

    • Preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems: 48% of metrics met 
       

    • Providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently: 100% of metrics met
       

    • Addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness: 83% of metrics met 
       

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

  • Systems: 67% of metrics met 
     
  • Environment: 35% of metrics met

State Score 2021: 53
State Ranking 2020: 26

2021 Score

2020 Score

53

42

Montana Highlights

Some areas where Montana has moved the needle relative to other states include not relying on the criminal justice system to provide services to youth experiencing homelessness, maintaining a state plan to end homelessness, and providing youth experiencing homelessness some contract rights.

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Law & Policy

  • 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).
     

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

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

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Systems​​

  • The state has systems in place to address proof of residency requirements to receive a state-issued identification card and allows youth to obtain state-issued identification without parental consent.

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness that contains a youth-specific strategy component.

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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 Treasure State, with emphasis on the Systems and Environment categories. Protecting the rights and interests of 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.

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

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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

  • Require training about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, healthy sexual development, or issues specific to LGBTQ youth for staff working in runaway and homeless youth systems.

  • Promote safe and inclusive environments in child welfare, juvenile justice, and runaway and homeless youth programs by providing protections based 
    on sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • Ban harmful and ineffective service provision that includes conversion therapy.

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