State Policy

State Laws on Minor Consent for Housing and Related Services

Below is a summary of state laws that recognize the need for unaccompanied homeless youth under age 18 to have legal rights to housing, shelter, and basic services.

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Current and Pending State Laws Allowing Unaccompanied Homeless Youth to Consent For Housing and Related Services*

Several state legislatures have recognized that unaccompanied homeless youth under age 18 need legal rights to access housing, shelter, and other basic services. States can provide critical protections, such as empowering minors experiencing homelessness to enter into contracts and to consent to shelter services. Below is a summary of such state laws, including several bills SchoolHouse Connection helped conceive, draft, and pass.

Please contact Rodd Monts to share information about other state minor consent laws, or to request SchoolHouse Connection’s help on state law advocacy in your state.

*This document does not address consent for health care. A summary of minor consent to routine health care is available on our website.

Laws Empowering Minors Experiencing Homelessness to Enter into Contracts

Rev Stat §431.056 (2000), amended by HB 1414 (2020)

A youth age 16 or 17 who is homeless or a victim of domestic violence and who is self-supporting (without physical or financial support of a parent or legal guardian) can contract for housing, employment, purchase of an automobile, receipt of a student loan, admission to high school or postsecondary school, obtaining medical care and mental health care, establishing a bank account, admission to a shelter, and receipt of services as a victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse, including but not limited to counseling, court advocacy, financial assistance, and other advocacy services. The youth’s parent or legal guardian must have consented to the youth living independently, but consent can be implied by the simple act of forcing the youth out of the home, refusing to provide financial support to the youth, or abuse or neglect. Consent also can be demonstrated by a letter from a homeless service provider or school district homeless liaison. Any legally-constituted entity or licensed provider who contracts with a minor under this provision is immune from liability for the determination to contract with the minor (with the exception of gross negligence or willful or wanton acts or omissions).


Laws Empowering Minors Experiencing Homelessness to Consent for Shelter Services

Family Code §6924 (1992)

A youth 12 years old or older may consent to residential shelter services if the youth is mature enough to participate intelligently in the services, and either would present a danger of serious physical or mental harm to self or to others without the services, or is the alleged victim of incest or child abuse.

Bill SD.2033 ( (Pending 2023)

A youth age 15 and older who is an unaccompanied homeless youth can consent to receive residential shelter and supportive services so long as the unaccompanied youth, at the discretion of the service provider, understands the significant benefits, responsibilities, risks, and limits of the shelter and service and can communicate an informed consent; the unaccompanied youth understands the requirements and rules of the shelter and services; and the shelter and services are necessary to ensure the unaccompanied youth’s safety and wellbeing. In the instance the unaccompanied youth is also a parent, they have the right to consent to residential shelter and supportive services for themselves and the child.