Connecticut Homeless Youth Act

 Feb 8, 2010


1. Definitions.

a) Homeless youth. “Homeless youth” means a person 21 years of age or younger who is without shelter where appropriate care and supervision are available and who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. This includes youth under age 18 whose parent or legal guardian is unable or unwilling to provide shelter and care.

b) Fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. “Fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence” means a dwelling at which a person resides on a regular basis that adequately provide safe shelter. “Fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence” does not include a publicly or privately operated institutional shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations; transitional housing; a temporary placement with a peer, friend or family member who has not offered a permanent residence, residential lease or temporary lodging for more than 30 days; or a public or private place not designed for, nor ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

c) After care services. “After care services” means continued counseling, guidance or support for up to 6 months following the provision of services. 2. Comprehensive program for homeless youth

The Department of Children and Families shall establish and support a comprehensive program for homeless youth in the State by procuring funding, within available appropriations, in order to contract with organizations and agencies licensed by the department that provide street outreach, shelter and transitional living services for homeless youth as well as state agencies and local education authorities. The services shall include:

a. Street and community outreach and drop-in programs. Youth drop-in centers to provide walk-in access to crisis intervention and ongoing supportive services, including one-to-one case management services on a self-referral basis and street and community outreach programs to locate, contact and provide information, referrals and services to homeless youth and youth at risk of homelessness. Information, referrals and services provided many include, but are not limited to family reunification services; conflict resolution or mediation counseling; assistance in obtaining temporary emergency shelter; case management aimed at obtaining food, clothing, medical care or mental health counseling; counseling regarding violence, prostitution, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and pregnancy; referrals to other agencies that provide support services to homeless youth and youth at risk of homelessness; assistance with education, employment and independent living skills; aftercare services; and specialized services for highly vulnerable homeless youth, including teen parents, sexually exploited youth and youth with mental illness or developmental disabilities;

b. Emergency shelter program. Emergency shelter programs to provide homeless youth with referrals and walk-in access to short-term residential care on an emergency basis. The program must provide homeless youth with safe, dignified, voluntary housing, including private shower facilities, beds and at least one meal each day, and assist with reunification with family or a legal guardian when required or appropriate. The services provided at emergency shelters may include, but are not limited to, family reunification services or referral to safe, dignified housing; individual, family and group counseling; assistance obtaining clothing; access to medical and dental care and mental health counseling; education and employment services; recreational activities; case management, advocacy and referral services; independent living skills training; and aftercare, follow-up services and transportation;

c. Transitional living programs. Transitional living programs to help homeless youth find and maintain safe, dignified housing. The program may also provide rental assistance and related supportive services or may refer youth to other organizations or agencies that provide such services. Services provided may include, but are not limited to, provision of safe, dignified housing; educational assessment and referrals to educational programs; career planning, employment, job skills training and independent living skills training; job placement; budgeting; and money management; assistance in securing housing appropriate to needs and income; counseling regarding violence, prostitution, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy; referral for medical services or chemical dependency treatment; parenting skills; self-sufficiency support services or life skills training; and aftercare and follow-up services.

3. Data collection

The department shall collect data from its licensed organizations and agencies to ensure that appropriate and high-quality services are being delivered to homeless youth and youth at risk of homelessness and shall use the data to monitor the success of the programs as well as changes in the rates of homelessness among youth in the State.

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