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This year, we’ve reformed the Index to focus on unhoused youth and young adults (YYA), aligning it with their experiences and policy needs. Shifting from harm reduction to transformative change, some jurisdictions may see lower scores than before. This is a deliberate strategy, not a setback. Lower scores should motivate, not discourage, jurisdictions. They present an opportunity to adopt policies that effectively tackle and prevent youth homelessness, fostering meaningful progress.

Minors Have a Right to Privacy in Healthcare

  • Autonomy
  • Healthcare

A minor living apart from caregivers has a right to privacy in health care

The privacy of unhoused minors in health care is essential for their safety and well-being. Without privacy protections, vulnerable youth may be hesitant to seek and receive necessary medical care, which could lead to serious mental and physical health issues. Protecting their privacy ensures that they can receive the care they need without fear of judgment or harassment. It also helps to build trust between youth and their healthcare providers, which is crucial for effective medical care.

Key Metric Score Type of Policy Description
1.5 Transformative Edge There is a broad right to privacy in health care for minors
1.0 Reform There is a right to privacy in health care for minors in certain situations
0.5 Harm Reduction There is right to privacy in health care for adult dependents of the insurance policyholder
0.0 Status Quo No law found
No Data No Data No Data

Cite: National Homelessness Law Center and True Colors United. ", Minors Have a Right to Privacy in Healthcare" https://youthstateindex.com/maps/minors-have-a-right-to-privacy-in-healthcare/. Accessed: June 22, 2024.

Healthcare

We believe that access to healthcare is a fundamental human right. But young people face multiple barriers in accessing health care and unhoused youth have disproportionately high rates of mental and physical health issues. Further complicating this issue is that unhoused minors may not be legally authorized to give consent for their own care or there may be limitations on the confidentiality of that care. Due to the myriad reasons why youth become homeless, it may be particularly problematic for them to obtain the consent of a parent when they need mental health care, gender-affirming care, reproductive healthcare, or even preventive care,  such as vaccinations – all of which have been politicized or even criminalized in certain jurisdictions. We envision a world where young people can access the care they need and where there are a sufficient number of medical providers available to provide culturally competent care to the youth in their community.  

Model Statute:

Autonomy

In many jurisdictions, minors have limited autonomy when it comes to entering into contracts for rental properties, obtaining medical care, and other important decisions that affect their lives. However, there is a growing movement to increase the autonomy of minors in these areas. One important step is to allow minors to enter into rental contracts, which would give them greater control over their living arrangements. Additionally, providing a statutory process for emancipation gives minors who are already supporting themselves the legal right to make their own decisions.

Another area where autonomy is important is minors’ ability to consent to shelter and services, a crucial tool in ensuring that unhoused youth get the help and support they need. 

“The money and resources that are being provided have too many barriers. Lack of documentation or other things necessary to qualify is a huge barrier. Have to be on the verge of homelessness or losing services in order to qualify for the assistance. Should be fixed BEFORE it gets to the point of almost losing housing or utilities.” – Joel Swazo

Model Statute:


These maps are provided as legal information only and should not be used as legal advice for your specific situation. If you need help with any of the issues described on this website, please check out the Homeless Youth Legal Network (HYLN) directory OR email or call HYLN for help finding a referral to a lawyer.