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Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

HETAC Resources

National Homeless Youth Awareness Month (NHYAM) Toolkit

This HETAC toolkit provides a suite of resources educators and community partners can use to build awareness of the issue of youth homelessness, including its causes and potential solutions, and highlight the need to work to prevent homelessness among children and teens. Resources include a sample board resolution, a calendar of activities, a list of activities for schools/classrooms, a book and movie list, a collection of awareness videos, and social media graphics and messaging.

Supporting the Education of Unaccompanied Youth (archived webinar)

This November 2022 HETAC webinar—copresented by the HETAC, the National Center for Youth Law, and Bay Area Legal Aid—explores challenges and barriers faced by unaccompanied youth; reviews McKinney-Vento Act provisions specific to unaccompanied youth; and shares strategies for targeted outreach, identification, and engagement.

Other Resources

Alone Without a Home: A National Review of State Laws Affecting Unaccompanied Youth

This report from the National Network for Youth and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty provides summaries, legal citations, and analyses of laws affecting unaccompanied youth in individual U.S. states and territories. The publication covers topics such as youth in need of services; emancipation; status offenses, including running away, truancy, and curfews; the right to contract; definitions and consequences of harboring runaway youth; and service and shelter responsibilities and resources.

Model State Statutes: Youth and Young Adult Homelessness

This resource from the American Bar Association and multiple partner organizations serves as a resource for—and a tribute to—the policymakers, practitioners, and advocates who work tirelessly to improve the lives of youth experiencing homelessness. While each included model statute is not individually endorsed by the American Bar Association, collectively these models represent the national consensus on what is needed at the state level to meet America's obligations to its most vulnerable citizens.

National Center for Homeless Education: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth webpage

This National Center for Homeless Education webpage provides informational and practical resources on supporting unaccompanied homeless youth, including their access to education and other needed services and assistance.

Overcoming Legal and Policy Barriers to Serving Minors Experiencing Homelessness: A Collection of Resources for Youth Advocates

This toolkit, developed jointly by the American Bar Association and National Network for Youth, provides communities with resources to address challenges related to legal and policy barriers when serving minors experiencing homelessness, including: An overview of key issues and challenges for minors experiencing homelessness; strategies and lessons learned from successful efforts to pass state laws allowing minors to consent to shelter and housing, health care, and other services; questions to consider when drafting minor consent laws; an overview of legal issues and considerations relevant to using host homes for minors; and how advocates can work towards equality while helping minors experiencing homelessness.

SchoolHouse Connection: Unaccompanied Youth webpage

This SchoolHouse Connection webpage provides informational and practical resources on supporting unaccompanied homeless youth, including their access to education and other needed services and assistance.

State Index on Youth Homelessness

Youth experiencing homelessness face legal and systemic barriers to accessing essential resources and services, but state laws, policies, and systems can provide crucial protections and advantages for a smoother and more secure transition out of homelessness. But all of this requires housing. This website, developed in partnership by the National Homelessness Law Center and True Colors United, surveys state policies on supporting youth in accessing, affording, and maintaining safe and habitable housing, free from discrimination and with additional supports and resources for young people who want them. It also examines systems that can help prevent, or that can cause, homelessness.

Teen Health Law, a project of the National Youth Center for Law, provides information on laws impacting adolescent health care access in California. The site is designed to help health care providers and other practitioners understand the laws that impact their work with adolescents. The site’s initial focus is on answering questions related to delivery of sensitive services and care for the subgroups of youth who often face increased barriers to needed care.

Sample Materials

California Courts: Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit

This California Courts webpage provides information about alternatives to guardianship, including through the use of California's Caregiver's Authorization Affidavit and instructions. This affidavit may be used to authorize enrollment of a minor in school and school-related medical care, and must be accepted by schools and medical facilities.

National Runaway Safeline: Education and Outreach Materials

This National Runaway Safeline (NRS) webpage shares NRS education and outreach materials available for downloading or ordering in hard copy. Materials include social media graphics, street outreach cards, NRS brochures, NRS Home Free program brochures, and dealing with stress bookmarks.