With just one day remaining in the 2020 legislative session, HB 1414 crossed the finish line in the Missouri state legislature last week. It now awaits the governor’s signature. HB 1414 will:
- Expand homeless youth’s access to Medicaid up to age 21 (Missouri has not adopted Medicaid expansion generally).
- Empower homeless youth under 18 to consent on their own for mental health care.
- Broaden homeless youth’s ability to consent for all types of health care, as well as housing, shelter, services, and employment, by establishing an objective way for youth to prove their unaccompanied homeless status through a letter from a school, service provider, or attorney, and by creating a limited liability shield for providers.
- Waive birth certificate fees for homeless children and youth.
- Allow unaccompanied homeless youth to access birth certificates without parental consent.
SchoolHouse Connection convened a broad, inter-agency coalition in Missouri in late 2018, to identify state policy barriers to addressing youth homelessness. Youth experiencing homelessness, service providers, early childhood programs, public schools and other concerned advocates participated in our State Policy Institutes and joined our coalition. Together, we identified the policies in HB 1414 as key areas for reform. We designed the bill language, rallied support statewide, and were successful in having several bills introduced in 2019. This year, Kids Win Missouri took our bills back to the legislature, and moved them to passage with the support of lobbyists and advocates.
To date, SchoolHouse Connection has helped build and lead coalitions that have achieved the passage of 17 new laws supporting over 650,000 homeless youth in ten states. Each of these new laws came directly from the lived experiences of young people. They provide many rights and services to help youth end their homelessness, including:
- Providing health insurance and the right to consent for health care to youth and young adults.
- Empowering youth to consent for shelter, housing, and services.
- Enhancing youth’s educational rights to make it easier for them to graduate from high school.
- Providing services for college students experiencing homelessness.
- Ensuring youth can access their vital documents and obtain driver’s licenses at no cost, and without parental consent.
To learn more about SchoolHouse Connection’s state policy advocacy, including details on bills introduced and passed, and state law summaries, visit our state policy webpage. For policy reform support in your state, contact Rodd Monts.