Concerned lawmakers call for extended support for foster youth entering adulthood

As teens age-out of the foster care system, protracted services for older kids has been requested by important leaders like U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Boxer has introduced legislation (S1512) that would offer states the option of providing foster care to older youth by extending federal funding to age 21. Organizations from around the country are signing on to support her proposal, including the American Bar Association, which will adopt a resolution to expand support for older youth in foster care at its annual conference held this week in San Francisco.

At the American Bar Association’s annual meeting, members will vote on a resolution calling for all states to offer foster care services, including housing and education, through age 21. The resolution also calls for extending the federal McKinney-Vento Act, which provides educational rights to homeless students, to cover foster children.

Twenty-six states cut off assistance when foster youth turn 18. The others offer varying degrees of help. Only a few states allow all youth to voluntarily remain in foster care through age 19, 20 or 21 .