Quick Facts: Rhode Island

​​​​​​Performance Breakdown
  • Law & Policy: 46% of metrics met
     
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 42% 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: 17% of metrics met 
       

    • Allowing youth experiencing homelessness to access critical supports and services: 33% of metrics met 
       

  • Systems: 72% of metrics met 
     
  • Environment: 18% of metrics met

State Score 2021: 46
State Ranking 2021: 40

2021 Score

2020 Score

46

43

Rhode Island Highlights

Some areas where Rhode Island has moved the needle relative to other states include providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently and enacting a multi-sector approach to ending homelessness.

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Law & Policy

  • The state allows youth in foster care to access extended foster care services to age 21 under certain circumstances and allows youth who have exited the foster care system after 18 to re-enter through the age of 21.

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

  • 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.

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Systems​​

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness.

    • The state plan has a "youth" component.

  • There is a state interagency council on homelessness.

  • The state allows youth to obtain a state-issued identification card without parental consent. 

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Environment

  • The state promotes safe and inclusive environments in child welfare and juvenile justice programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • The state has banned conversion therapy for minors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. 

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement across categories in the Ocean State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy category. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness and preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems should be prioritized.

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Law & Policy

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

  • Reduce opportunities for contact between youth experiencing homelessness and the criminal and juvenile justice systems by declassifying running away as a status or delinquent offense.

  • Allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.

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Systems

  • As part of the state plan to prevent and end youth homelessness, include a strategy to address homelessness among 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

  • 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.

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

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