|January 6, 2023 03:00 PM
|Representative Mark Rozzi and Rep. Donna Bullock
|All House members
|Homeless Minor’s Ability to Contract for Services
|The plight of homeless youth is a double-edged sword as a majority are escaping violent and abusive situations and have gone “underground” as to not be discovered. Many homeless youth are unable to access safe shelter and housing services due to the requirement for parental consent and/or their involvement in the child welfare system, making homeless minors extremely vulnerable to sexual trafficking and labor exploitation. A 2016 report found that 36% of homeless youth traded sex for a place to stay or another need. A major step the state can take in preventing these episodes of human trafficking is to allow homeless minors to enter into contracts for housing and basic services.
Our legislation would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to apply to high school or post-secondary schools, as well as contract for a variety of services including shelter and housing, employment, loans, bank accounts and the like. Further, our legislation provides immunity to providers who have reason to believe the minor would incur harm if returned immediately to the home of the parent, the provider is unable to locate a parent, or the minor refuses to disclose contact information.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this legislation to protect the rights, safety, and well-being of homeless minors.
Introduced as HB730