Quick Facts: Rhode Island

​​​​​​Performance Breakdown
  • Law & Policy: 58% of metrics met
     
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 50% of metrics met 
       

    • Preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems: 71% 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: 50% of metrics met 
       

  • Systems: 78% of metrics met 
     
  • Environment: 41% of metrics met

State Score 2022: 59
State Ranking 2022: 20

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2022 Score

2021 Score

59

46

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).

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Systems​​

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness that contains a youth and LGBTQ+ strategy 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 maintains a community advisory board for youth that informs youth homelessness policy.

  • 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 addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness 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.

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

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

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Systems

  • Create a state entity – such as Office of Homeless Youth 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 runaway and homeless youth programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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