TACFS Advocates for Federal Legislation to Support Aged Out Foster Youth


 
This summer, we are honored to join with our members at SAFE Alliance and several other associations across Texas and the United States in advocating for increased funding to support the thousands of youth exiting foster care during the coronavirus pandemic. 

In the National and State Chafee Support Letter to Congress, our partners pointed to troubling data collected through an online poll of 172 transition-age youth from March 21 to March 24. 
  •  28% of respondents described their home as having a food crisis or being very low on food
  •  40% indicated that they had been forced to move or feared being forced to move
  •  27% of respondents had been laid off and another 40% have had their hours severely cut
  • 18% indicated they are in a money crisis and 33% stated they had less than a week’s worth of cash on hand
  • 23% said they wished they had more people to help them through the crisis, and
  • 14% of respondents indicated that they are on their own, or almost entirely on their own
In the upcoming COVID-19 relief bill, we stand by our partners in advocating for the following Federal Legislation proposals...

1. Increase Chafee Funding by 500 Million. Funds from the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood can pay for the vital resources and services that young people need immediately and urgently, but have remained at $140 million since its enactment in 1999 and only increased to $143 million this year. Providing a well overdue increase in funding for Chafee will allow states to meaningfully meet the immediate needs of youth and young adults during this crisis and help support them as they plan for their future past the COVID-19 crisis.

2. Extend the Age of Eligibility for Chafee Aftercare Services to Age 23 for All Youth. Flexible Chafee funds can be used to meet many of the immediate needs of young people who are still making the transition to adulthood. These funds can help with immediate needs for housing, food, and other service supports that are so vital at this time. Congress has acknowledged the wisdom of providing these services to youth until age 23. Youth in all states should have the benefit of this opportunity for support.

3. Suspend Participation Requirements for Young People in Extended Foster Care. Suspending the work, school, and program participation requirements for youth in extended foster care will allow youth to remain safe, healthy, and housed. This action will allow them to continue to receive placement and support services through the COVID-19 crisis so they can stay on track to meet their goals. Without this action, many youth may be pushed out of the system to homelessness and unsafe situations where their health will be at great risk.

4. Place a Moratorium on Discharges from the Foster Care System for Youth Ages 18-21. By providing young people the safety and security of maintaining their current living arrangements and services, they will be in the best position to stay healthy and continue working towards their goals for their future. This additional time and support will help young people and child welfare agencies be able to appropriately plan for a successful transition out of care and into adulthood.

5. Allow States to Draw Down Title IV-E funds until a Young Person Reaches Age 22. By allowing states to draw down Title IV-E funds after a young person reaches age 21, states will be encouraged to provide continued services for youth in this time of great need. This will help ensure that young people are not cut off from housing and services when they need it the most. It will also ensure that states have the capacity and funds to meet their needs. We are aware that many young people are suffering from financial hardship at this time. However, unlike their peers, many foster youth have no family or support network to turn to for help navigating these challenges. We ask that you not forget them as you move forward in supporting our nation’s recovery from COVID. 

Read the Full Support Letter here.