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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 22, 2020 11:03 AM
From: Representative Karen Boback
To: All House members
Subject: Emergency Relief for Foster Youth Aging Out During COVID Crisis
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to temporarily (for a short time) allow foster youth to remain in care after their 21st birthday.
The lives of our young adults have been disrupted dramatically and disproportionately, as they have seen their plans disappear or be put on indefinite hold. While I have been disappointed for their sake, I have also been heartened by stories I have heard of families embracing one another, welcoming their children back into their homes, ensuring that, even as these youths and young adults struggle with uncertainty and discouragement, they can at least know that they have a roof over their heads.
Youth aging out of foster care do not have the safety net that families are meant to provide. As a result of this predicament, they tend to encounter significant hardship in the transition to adulthood. The COVID-19 crisis is making that transition even more difficult. A nationwide survey* of people aged 18 to 23 who were either still in or freshly out of foster care last month revealed that:
  • 7% were homeless or “couch surfing”
  • 55% experienced moderate to severe food insecurity
  • 48% indicated financial distress due to layoff or having work hours severely cut
  • 31% lost access to academic or post-secondary educational supports
  • 21% lacked personal supports to ensure that their educational goals were not disrupted
Most of us, including our young adult children, will ultimately weather this storm. But the hard reality is that not everyone will. It is important that we continue our commitment to our foster youth in their young lives.  It is imperative for us to act now.    
Please join me in cosponsoring this vital legislation. 
* Study conducted by The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania

Introduced as HB2552