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Relief Expires Today For 20,000 Foster Youth Aging Out During the Pandemic

On September 30, the federal moratorium on youth aging out during the pandemic will expire, pushing approximately 20,000 young adults out of the system. Nearly 900,000 youth and young adults are eligible for this critical emergency relief. When it expires, hundreds of thousands of young people will no longer be able to receive extended foster care, housing assistance or other well-being resources under a temporary program established in response to COVID 19 in 2020. This may lead to devastating consequences for current and former foster youth who face housing insecurity, income loss, hunger, barriers to accessing healthcare, lack of transportation, and childcare shortages.

Sandy Santana, Executive Director of Children’s Rights, issued the following statement in response:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly devastating for the children in the foster care system who don’t have stable home environments or families that they can rely on. Turning 21 should be a time of joy and promise. Yet, for youth in foster care, it often means they will be on their own facing food insecurity, housing instability, and economic distress.

“Today’s end to relief funding will force youth who are aging out of foster care and into adult life to fend for themselves without adequate means and absent meaningful support for the transition into the real world. Children in foster care need and deserve support from systems that have long let them down. The federal government must move quickly to extend the moratorium to ensure that youth are protected, and states must move quickly to help connect foster youth aging out with the support they need.”

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