Tags: Education | Homeland Security

Ohio Bill Model for Foster Children Justice

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Thursday, 23 Jul 2015 12:34 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In today’s United States at age 18 most states still consider you an adolescent or minor with limited legal rights. Here are just a few examples: An 18-year-old can’t buy beer. He can’t buy hard liquor. He can’t buy cigarettes. He can’t rent a car. But he can look forward to eight more years on mom and dad’s health insurance policy.

Assuming he has a mom and dad. But the situation is different in the state of Ohio. There’s still no beer, no booze, no blunts, and no Hertz because at 18 he’s still too young. But if the teenager is a foster child, 18 is old enough to be shown the door and put on the street to fend for himself.

The Columbus Dispatch has covered the issues and reports, “26 percent of Ohio youths who aged out of foster care experienced homelessness by age 19; more than 50 percent had not graduated from high school or received an equivalence certificate.”

These abandoned–by–the–state youth also fall prey to exploitation in the sex trade and often find themselves in jail, experiencing unplanned pregnancies and often unemployed.

But now foster youth may have a chance. Ohio House Bill 50, patterned after a bill that unfortunately failed in the last session of the legislature, is designed to “create a new program to serve those who age out of foster care, and for those adopted after age 16, through their 21st birthdays.”

Passage of this bill would have an immediate, positive affect on the over 1,000 18-year-olds that age out of the system in Ohio each year. Currently 26 other states have an extended foster care program or are in the process of extending care to 21. Passage of House Bill 50 would make Ohio the 27th.

The Dispatch explains, “The extended foster-care program is to operate regionally and would be voluntary. Supporters say the planned state appropriation is for $300,000 to cover planning and design costs in 2016 and $1.7 million in 2017.

They expect the state to break even within six years and to be saving money within a decade as a result of reduced homelessness, incarceration, joblessness, and other problems often faced by former foster youths. Much of the cost of foster care is paid by the federal government.”

Like most of the cost estimates associated with bills that are purported save money in the long run, this estimate is probably overly optimistic. But even if the bill didn’t save a dime, it’s money well spent.

If you know anything about me, you know I’m a strong supporter of foster children and adopted children. This bill will end an unanticipated injustice and give these kids, who started life behind the eight ball, a better chance for success.

Here’s hoping the Ohio legislature does the right thing by foster kids.

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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Reagan
You know I’m a strong supporter of foster children and adopted children. This bill will end an unanticipated injustice and give these kids, who started life behind the eight ball, a better chance for success. Here’s hoping the Ohio legislature does the right thing by foster kids.
Education, Homeland Security
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2015-34-23
Thursday, 23 Jul 2015 12:34 PM
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