Louisiana Becomes the 28th State to Extend Benefits to Foster Youth
Louisiana becomes the 28th state to extend benefits to foster youth. With the large population of youth aging out of the system and becoming homeless or suffering from housing instability, many states move to extend support.
Passing of SB 129 (Act 649)
Because of the passing of SB 129 (Act 649) benefits to foster youth extends from age 18 to 21. The perimeters require foster youth to continue in post-secondary education and employed.
The Department of Children and Family Services in Louisiana wrote.
“In 2018, Louisiana began its effort to extend foster care to 21 with the passage of Sen. Ryan Gatti’s SB 129 (Act 649), which extended care to 21 for anyone in high school or working toward an equivalent credential. After working with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and studying work underway around the U.S., the Task Force on Extending the Age of Foster Care to 21 recommended expanding the program to all youth who reach age 18 while in foster care and have not year turned 21 and who:
- Is enrolled in a post-secondary vocational or educational program;
- Enrolled in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment;
- Employed at least 80 hours per month; or
- Have a medical condition that renders the young adult incapable of engaging in any of these activities
Youth who have already ‘aged out’ of foster care will have the opportunity to enroll in the program.
‘We made history today,’ DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters said. ‘This is going to change the lives of countless youth in foster care in Louisiana.'”
In conclusion, extended benefits to foster youth are becoming a norm across the nation. It is important that we continue to find ways to support youth as they transition out of care. Because of extended support, we can hope to see more youth thriving. For information about SB 129 check with your foster agency.