On Friday, August 7, 2020, Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski introduced The Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act (HR 7947). This bipartisan legislation would provide a comprehensive approach to address the serious needs of children, youth, and families across the child welfare system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid the pandemic older youth in foster care and those who have already aged out are being disconnected from work, school, and external support systems. Lacking families to turn to, they are at risk of losing housing, and even their lives. Young people have voiced their needs and requests for support, but to date, none of the relief bills have provided aid to youth in foster care.
Take ActionSend a message to Congress
The Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act provides youth in foster care and those who have aged out the targeted support all young people deserve. The bill that includes several elements we have all been fighting for, including:
- $400 million for Chafee to help youth with education, employment, financial management, housing, emotional support, and assured connections to caring adults.
- Expands Chafee eligibility through age 26
- Waives education/work requirements
- Removes 30% cap on room and board
- Increases the maximum award for Education and Training Vouchers (ETV) from $5,000 to $12,000 per individual youth per year
- Places a moratorium on aging out and allows for re-entry into care
Now is not the time to pause. This is our last chance to urge Members of Congress to include this bill in the COVID package currently being considered. Our window of opportunity for direct emergency aid is closing fast, and we want to make sure Congress doesn’t forget to help foster youth.