Quick Facts: New Jersey

  • Law & Policy: 68% 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: 76% 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: 17% of metrics met 
       

    • Allowing youth experiencing homelessness to access critical supports and services: 56% of metrics met 
       

  • Systems: 83% of metrics met 
     
  • Environment: 18% of metrics met

State Score 2020: 62

State Ranking 2020: 11

New Jersey Highlights

Some areas where New Jersey has moved the needle relative to other states include preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems and providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently.

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).

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

Systems​​

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness.

    • The state plan has 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.

Environment

  • None.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Granite State, with emphasis on the Environment category. Protecting the rights and interests of youth experiencing homelessness, including LGBTQ youth, should be prioritized.

Law & Policy

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

Systems

  • The state should update the state plan to end homelessness to include strategies specific to LGBTQ+ youth.

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

Environment

  • The state should establish and maintain a stipended community advisory board for youth that informs youth homelessness policy (Youth Action Board).

  • 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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True Colors United & National Homelessness Law Center
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