As recommended by last years LO, we have deepened the analysis on the Mature Minor rule in other jurisdictions, focusing on jurisdictions with broad consent rules to act as potential models for Massachusetts. In addition, through research and interviews, we have further analyzed the current Massachusetts Mature Minor Rule, including research on mental health regulations, payment, and legislative history. From this research on other jurisdictions as well as more in depth research on the current Massachusetts Mature Minor Rule we offer the following summary of recommendations:
1. Continue researching the Legislative History
It might be helpful for the next LO to look further into the legislative history by doing the following:413
The next LO will have to decide if continuing the legislative history will be a priority or if background information provided in this report is sufficient.
2. In an effort to gain information on the larger picture of homeless youth in Massachusetts, LO #2 spoke with individuals at The Joe Budd Youth Services and Assessment Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The LO learned that The Joe Budd Youth Services and Assessment Center, in conjunction with the Springfield Police Department and other agencies, has a series of procedures - including a 67-item questionnaire designed to assess how a minor can best be helped – by which the problem of homeless and at-risk youth is addressed in Springfield, Massachusetts by both city and state officials. Further LOs may wish to contact this agency, as well as others across the state, to gather further information on state-wide agencies, services, and procedures available to address the issues surrounding homeless youth.
3. Create a legislative guide to educate legislators on the important issues discussed in this report.
4. Write and carry out a survey of youth for statistical data which would be helpful for a legislative guide.
5. Interview youth (homeless, at-risk, possibly a group of high school students who will be only 17 when they graduate)- learn their stories, concerns, and find out any perceived constraints stemming from the current MMR. This will be especially important in order to present personal accounts to legislators.
6. Continue payment research, if client requests.
7. Continue verification of research performed by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, or compile a 50-state and District of Columbia analysis of health care available to minors.
8. Create a guide for health care providers and possibly a pamphlet for homeless or at-risk youth. Create a dissemination strategy.
9. Publicize to providers and youth clause (v) of the Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 112, § 12S about living separate from parent(s) and managing own financial affairs as a current way to legally provide services to the target homeless and at-risk youth population.
10. Publicize the mental health regulation, 104 CMR 25.04., to providers and youth.