This year's Law, Culture, and Difference Law Office #2 (LO) has continued the work of previous years' Law Offices in conjunction with the Justice Resource Institute (JRI), and the Health Law Institute (HLI), to investigate problems faced by homeless youth in Massachusetts. JRI is a not-for-profit Massachusetts based agency that provides treatment for children and adults with physical, emotional, or learning related needs. HLI, a program of JRI, provides advocacy services to JRI clients and primarily focuses on the needs of young adults and homeless youth, members of the gay and transgendered community, professional sex workers, and drug users. HLI clients are indigent and face significant barriers to much needed health and legal services. Although much of the information in this paper is generalizable to all minors, the research conducted by this LO, was guided by the plight of homeless and runaway youth.
One goal of this LO was to provide a comprehensive study of nationwide statutes that both positively and negatively affect homeless youth. From these models, this LO is able to make recommendations on how to guide future research. The future research may ultimately provide sound and reasoned recommendations that JRI, or other interested parties, can use in proposing new legislation that will more precisely focus on the best interest of youths affected by homelessness in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.