Emancipation provides a strong option for minors in that it provides them with the same level of legal and medical access as adults, as well as providing arguably greater access to housing, whether private or in the form of a shelter. On the other hand, much of the criticism of emancipation statutes elsewhere in the country focuses on the fact that emancipation is often initiated or encouraged by someone other than the minor, in most cases by her parents. Statutes which are not clear as to who can petition the court for emancipation or, conversely, make it clear that parents can initiate proceedings, open the door for those parents who wish to legally cut all ties and obligations to their minor children. This results in situations wherein minors are given responsibilities they neither asked for, nor are ready to handle. In addition, an important part of understanding the possible implications of creating a statutory emancipation process in Massachusetts is the problem of continued parental financial support. Any organization that wishes to implement an emancipation law in the Commonwealth must be cautious and consider that changes in current law might result in homeless or at-risk minors getting less financial support from their parents.
Massachusetts and other states that do not have statutory emancipation laws, generally bar minors from being their own decision-makers because of the assumption that minors are incapable of making important legal decisions, while their parents are. In a perfect world, this may be true, however, the homeless and runaway population are most often unable to, or do not wish to contact a parent, and have managed to live independent of their parent(s). In cases where familial ties were broken and reunification is not possible, and when the minor is self-sufficient, emancipation may be beneficial, because it will grant them the same rights afforded to adults over the age of majority.27