This guidance serves to inform you of Chapter 780 of the Laws of 2022, as amended by
Chapter 107 of the Laws of 2023, which expands the population of minors who may consent to
medical, dental, health, and hospital services under Public Health Law §2S04. Effective March
23, 2023, such minors include homeless youth and youth who receive services from approved
runaway and homeless youth programs. Youth served in these settings may include homeless
or runaway youth.
- Homeless youth are persons under age 18 who are in need of services and are
without a place of shelter where supervision and care are available.
- Runaway youth are persons under age 18 who are absent from their legal
residence without the consent of their parent, legal guardian, or custodian.
- Approved runaway and homeless youth programs are crisis services programs or
transitional independent living support programs approved or certified by the New
York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) pursuant to Article 19-
H of the Executive Law.
If a minor seeks medical, dental, health, or hospital services, in the absence of an
emergency or an immediate need for medical attention, a health care provider must first
determine whether the youth has the capacity to consent to receive such care. This legislative
change allows homeless youth and youth who receive services from approved runaway and
homeless youth programs to consent to their own care.
The needs of homeless youth and youth who receive services from approved runaway
and homeless youth programs are complex. To help providers navigate these situations, a
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document is attached to this letter.
Housing (or the lack thereof) greatly impacts one’s health and well-being. Should a youth
seek medical, dental, health, or hospital services and identify as homeless or as a recipient of
services from an approved runaway and homeless youth program, providers should ask the
youth whether they are receiving the supports and services they need. Providers are strongly
encouraged to refer any such youth to specialized services when available, or to the local
department of social services when specialized services are not readily available. A list of
specialized services for this population can be found at
https:/Iocfs.ny.gov/programs/youth/rhy/directory.php. In addition, youth can be encouraged to
contact the National Runaway Safeline, a free confidential helpline, at 1-800-RUNAWAY.
If a provider is concerned that a youth is experiencing abuse, neglect, or maltreatment
from a person responsible for their care and well-being, they must call the New York Statewide
Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR) at 1-800-342-3720 and submit form
LDSS- 2221A within 48 hours of making a report. More information about mandated reporting can be found in OCFS-Pub1159.