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Quick Facts: Montana

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Performance Breakdown
  • Law & Policy: 63% of metrics met
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 58% 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: 88% 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: 61% of metrics met 

  • Systems: 67% of metrics met 
  • Environment: 41% of metrics met

State Score 2022: 60
State Ranking 2022: 17


2022 Score

2021 Score



Montana Highlights

Some areas where Montana has moved the needle relative to other states include addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness and providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently, and creating systems to address the needs of youth experiencing homelessness.


Law & Policy

  • State law does not specifically criminalize running away.

  • State law provides youth experiencing homelessness some contract rights.

  • 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).



  • 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.



  • 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.


Law & Policy

  • Enact and fund a state law similar to the federal RHYA to provide key intervention and emergency services for youth experiencing homelessness.

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



  • 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.



  • 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.

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

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