Young people under the age of 18 may be experiencing homelessness alone for a number of reasons, such as abuse or family conflict over sexual orientation and gender identity. And while there are existing services that could help, current law prevents underage youth from consenting to many of these services without a parent – despite the reality that seeking their parents’ consent is often not an option.
We worked with Rep. Kay Khan and Sen. Adam Gomez to draft and file H.192/S.94, legislation that would enable youth between the ages of 15 and 18 to provide consent for themselves and access critical supportive services. And in exciting news, the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities held a hearing on this bill on October 16th!
Now, we need to make sure it stays at the top of our legislators’ minds to keep it moving through the legislative process. Take action today and urge your legislators to support H.192/S.94, An Act Allowing Certain Minors to Consent to Shelter and Supportive Services!
Underage youth who cannot access the services they need are extremely vulnerable to victimization and violence. As the 2022 Massachusetts Youth Count found, respondents who left home as minors were less likely to be sheltered, have a high school degree, or receive the help they need.
H.192/S.94 would ensure unaccompanied minors between the ages of 15 and 18 years old can meet their immediate survival needs and assist them on their journey towards stability. And with queer and BIPOC youth disproportionately experiencing homelessness, this bill is an important step towards establishing increased supports for some of our state’s most marginalized young people.
We need to keep building support among our lawmakers to ensure the Joint Committee issues a favorable report for this bill! Please take this one-minute action and urge your legislators to make H.192/S.94 one of their priorities this session.
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