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Stabenow, Grassley Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Foster Youth During the COVID-19 Crisis

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) today introduced a bipartisan bill to support teenagers and young adults in the foster care system during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Continued State Flexibility to Assist Older Foster Youth Act will help these young adults pay for college or job training programs, in addition to housing, driving and transportation costs.

“For so many teenagers and young adults in the foster care system, the COVID-19 crisis has increased the uncertainty and challenges that they already faced. This bill will help make sure that they have a roof over their head and are able to get to and from the doctor, grocery store and work during the pandemic,” said Senator Stabenow.

“Older children in foster care and those who aged out faced unique difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic with economic lockdowns and school closures. With that in mind, I worked diligently with my colleagues last year to include provisions in the budget bill to give these young people more flexibility and support. As we come out of the pandemic, these young people continue to need additional support. This bipartisan legislation will extend some of the flexibilities for another year, and make sure that youth don’t fall through the cracks” said Senator Grassley. “I’m glad to help lead this legislation as we continue to support foster youth around the country.”

Young adults who age out of the foster care system are eligible for assistance to transition to independent living. Prior to the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act in December 2020, young adults were eligible for additional support through ages 21 to 23 depending on the state. The Consolidated Appropriations Act extended this age to 27. This extension expired on September 30, 2021. This legislation extends these support services to young adults through age 27 through Dec. 31 2021 or 2022, depending on the service.

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