A new fact sheet from the Annie E. Casey Foundation helps states calculate the number of older youths, ages 14 through 26, who qualify for assistance through the recent federal stimulus package, which includes $400 million in relief for young people in and transitioning out of foster care. The increased funding — more than 2.5 times the amount states usually receive for these services — could provide critical support for nearly 900,000 young people nationwide.
This stimulus authorizes and funds a national extension of foster care beyond age 21 until Sept. 30, 2021. Evidence shows this may especially help young people of color, who tend to fare better in extended care with higher rates of work and educational attainment and lower rates of homelessness and young parenthood.
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“Congress has given states an unprecedented opportunity to meet the emergency needs of young people,” says Todd Lloyd, senior policy associate at the Casey Foundation.
States must act quickly to determine how they will spend the disaster-response funds, which will require identifying the young people eligible for financial and other supports — 85% of whom are no longer in foster care. The fact sheet provides the numbers of qualifying young people in each state, broken down into age subsets that generally correspond to levels of need and extended cutoffs for transition services and resources.
“Young people need cash, behavioral health support and housing. They need concrete help in this time of crisis,” Lloyd adds. “Child welfare systems should use this fact sheet to visualize the significant task at hand and push for the development of robust outreach strategies to ensure older teens and young adults receive support — ideally through cash assistance and the opportunity to extend or re-enter into care — as quickly and efficiently as possible.”