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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

Foster Youth Independence Act of 2015 (H.R. 3160)

Issue

23,000 children age out of foster care every year in need of various supports to transition into adulthood, including housing, health care, education, financial literacy, and job training.  Youth who age out of care face many challenges when adjusting to life on their own. According to data collected by The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, there are clear differences between young people who report having permanent relationships and those who don’t. For example, young people with permanent relationships are 70% more likely to have consistent health insurance compared to 45% of youth without permanence.  In 2013, nearly 50,000 youth exited the foster care system between the ages of 16 and 20 with little support.

The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program is designed to offer assistance to aged out youth to attain “self-sufficiency” up until age 21. However, studies have concluded that youth do not mentally mature into adulthood by 21, leaving many “aged out” foster youth left to fend for themselves while navigating the world.

Solution

By expanding the John H. Chafee Foster Independence Program to age 23 to aged-out foster youth in states that have already expanded eligibility to age 21, foster youth will benefit from the added support of programs designed to prepare them for a successful transition into independence and adulthood. States will also benefit from the flexibility to provide support in the manner that best serves their “aged-out” youth population.

Bill Summary

This bill will:

1.     Allow states that have opted to extend foster care to 21 year olds to use federal funds to serve foster youth in all capacities until age 23. 

2.     Not require additional spending as it merely provides authorization to use existing funds for this population. 

For More Information

Contact:  Jasmine Velazquez

 (202) 225-7084

jasmine.velazquez@mail.house.gov

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