Provides resources & services to foster youth 18 - 21 to support their successful transition to adulthood.
WHAT IS THE BILL?
The Voluntary Extension of Care Act is a new law that guarantees youth in foster care housing, financial support and resources, until they are 21.
Why IT MATTERS
Foster youth, like their same aged peers, need support as they transition to adulthood. Young people transitioning out of foster care face challenges and need continued support as they become successful young adults. Today, these supports are limited and are not guaranteed after age 18. At age 18 many youth are still in their senior year of high school. Others have recently left school and are just starting out at a new college or career. Losing supports at age 18 makes it more challenging to become a financially stable, functioning citizen of the Rhode Island community. Click here to read more.
Rhode Island KIDSCOUNT reports that:
“As a group, youth who age out of foster care fare poorly across a wide spectrum of outcome measures, including employment, educational attainment, access to health care, housing stabilities, and criminal justice system involvement when compared to the general population.”
Research has found that our state:
“pays high costs for these youth even after they leave the foster system. it costs the state of Rhode Island nearly $50,000 per year to incarcerate a single inmate, $25,000 in healthcare costs for an unintended pregnancy, and tens of thousands annually in services and support for each chronically homeless person. The state also loses out on the potential tax revenue and economic growth that might result if these young adults instead found gainful employment and social stability after leaving foster care.”
24 states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Nebraska, Ohio, and California have extended their systems of care to 21 for these same young people.
In December, 2016 the Rhode Island Coalition for Children and Families invited a national expert, Child Welfare Director and attorney Sarah Helvey of Nebraska Appleseed, to speak on extension of care. RICCF then began convening stakeholders- including the Voice Youth Leadership board, member agencies, RI KidsCount, and allies in community agencies and state government- concerned about the state’s foster youth who are exiting the system without a permanent home or guardianship. The stakeholder group's work, along with General Assembly leaders Representative Deborah Ruggiero and Senator Louis Dipalma, has led to introduction of 2018 companion bills H7110 and S2022. To learn more and get involved, click here.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
Reach out to your general assembly. To find your legislator, click here.