Tags: Foster | children | Support | 18

Foster Kids Need Support Past 18

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Tuesday, 24 Mar 2015 11:50 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Foster children face enough problems during their early life without being discarded at age 18.
 
In 24 states foster children celebrate their 18th birthday by being told to hit the road by state government. By blowing out the candles on their birthday cake, state bureaucrats magically decree the former foster children are now fully functioning adults and all state support for them ends.
 
At age 18 children living in intact families are thinking about graduating from high school or where they want to go to college.
 
These 18-year-old foster children are wondering if they will have a roof over their heads and if they can afford to eat. College and career plans disappear in an avalanche of short-term survival anxiety.  
 
As the Columbus Dispatch points out, these instant adults “become members of Ohio’s most at-risk population. These “adults” are more likely to drop out of school, become parents before they are ready, experience homelessness, fall victim to human trafficking, be unemployed or incarcerated — circumstances that often doom the young person to failure and costly consequences for us all.”
 
I certainly wasn’t ready to assume all the responsibilities of adulthood at age 18 and I’ll wager most of my readers weren’t ready either. If Obamacare can keep children on the parent’s health insurance plan until age 26, it seems to me that the states can keep foster children on the foster rolls until they reach the age of 21.
 
Fortunately there soon may be one less show-them-the-door-at-18 state. The Ohio legislature is considering a bill that would continue foster care support past the age of 18 for foster children that are working part time or are in high school or college. These teenagers would continue in the foster care system until they reach age 21 and become true adults.
 
Part of the argument made for the bill’s passage is economic: Foster children who age out cost the state an average of $300,000 in social costs over the former foster child’s lifetime. Supporters of the bill estimate that after six years the state will break even on tax dollars spent.
 
And after 10 years Ohio will experience a positive revenue gain.
 
And that’s all well and good, but the real reason to pass this bill and extend foster care until age 21 is it’s the right and moral thing to do.
 
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.
 
 

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Foster children face enough problems during their early life without being discarded at age 18. In 24 states foster children celebrate their 18th birthday by being told to hit the road by state government.
Foster, children, Support, 18
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2015-50-24
Tuesday, 24 Mar 2015 11:50 AM
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