*Update, May 12, 2020
We are proud to have joined over 110 organizations and 650 foster youth, foster parents, and advocates calling for Congress to provide crucial supports to older youth facing the stress and disruptions resulting from COVID-19.
At the state level, there is more we can do! A few states — Connecticut, Illinois, California, Rhode Island, Michigan, Ohio, and South Carolina— have already put policies in place to stop youth from aging out during the crisis. Governors who have not yet acted must follow their lead, and do it now.
We need the power of your voice to ensure every governor hears the message! Join us in telling governors older youth must not age out.
Today, Children’s Rights joined national advocates in urging Congress to take action to help older foster youth in and aging out of foster care. Many of these young people have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, and are at risk of becoming homeless and losing services and supports at a time that they need them the most. In this letter, advocates ask Congress to include in its next COVID-19 relief bill provisions that would provide support for these young people so they can make it through this crisis, stay healthy and thrive.
We ask that the following reforms are included:
- Increase Chafee Funding by $500 million
- Extend the Age of Eligibility for Chafee Aftercare Services to Age 23 for All Youth
- Suspend Participation Requirements for Young People in Extended Foster Care
- Place a Moratorium on Discharges from the Foster Care System for Youth Ages 18-21
- Allow States to Draw Down Title IV-E funds until a Young Person Reaches Age 22
We are aware that many young people are suffering from financial hardship at this time. However, unlike their peers, many foster youth have no family or support network to turn to for help navigating these challenges. We ask that you not forget them as you move forward in supporting our nation’s recovery from COVID.
Annie Blackledge, The Mockingbird Society
Celeste Bodner, FosterClub
Sixto Cancel, Think of Us
Alexandra Citrin, Center for the Study of Social Policy
Serita Cox, iFoster
April Curtis, Foster Care Alumni of America
Lisa Dickson & Doris Edelmann, ACTION Ohio
Christen Glickman, Youth Villages
Jessica Haspel, Children Now
Amy Harfield & Melanie Delgado, Children’s Advocacy Institute
Sherry Lachman. Foster America
Amy Lemley & Anna Johnson, John Burton Advocates for Youth
Laurie Lippold, Partners for Our Children
Jenny Pokempner, Juvenile Law Center
Jennifer Rodriguez, Youth Law Center
Sandy Santana, Children’s Rights
John Sciamanna & Shaquita Ogletree, Child Welfare League of America
Stefanie Sprow & Steven Olender, Children’s Defense Fund
Leecia Welch, National Center for Youth Law
Ruth White, National Center for Housing and Child Welfare
Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, GRACE