Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Should Foster Youth Age Out At 21? This Week’s Cutoff of Pandemic Relief Money Again Raises the Question

From The Seattle Times:

[A]s part of its emergency response to the pandemic, the federal government last year required states to continue providing benefits to those who would otherwise age out of “extended foster care” programs for young adults. Washington used federal pandemic relief money to do so.

On Thursday, the moratorium on aging out is set to expire, cutting off payments to about 320 people in Washington and 20,000 nationwide, unless the feds or the state step in.

The federal government, in addition to issuing the moratorium, allocated $400 million in emergency funding to help 23- to 26-year-old former foster children. The deadline for distributing that money, unless extended, is also Thursday. Treehouse, charged with administering $1.65 million in Washington, has so far only been able to find 600 of an estimated 2,800 of these young adults, according to Rains.

The pandemic has heightened worries that already existed about those aging out of the foster system. Some say 21 is too soon — even in normal times — to expect them to be completely independent.

Advocates note California in July approved a plan to send monthly checks of up to $1,000 to 21- to 24-year-olds who have been through the foster care system — heralded as the country’s first guaranteed income program.

Read more here.

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