Monday, February 4, 2013

Assistance for Foster Children Aging Out of the System

Foster care is supposed to be a program that will provide care for children until they can get back with their family of origin, or be adopted before the age of 18.  However, some young people don't get back with their families, and some "age out" of the system.  What's available for them?

The John Chafee Foster Care Program is a federal program to help kids transition from 18 till 21.  The money does not go to individuals, but to states through block grant programs, and the states take the money and create programs to support their young people.  This means that housing, medical and other transitional help can take different forms in different places.  There may be statewide initiatives, or local programs set up to help transitional young people.  Where do you look?

One place is the Camellia Network's searchable database of programs. Another national listing--although not complete--is one by the Child Welfare League.  Perhaps the most comprehensive is the wikispace Foster Care to Adulthood, which has links to wiki entries on foster care and aging out to each of the 50 states and some Indian tribes.  Also check the scholarship opportunities through the Orphan Foundation of America.  If you are googling for information in your state, try using the terms chaffee funds and the name of your state.

 If you live in Michigan, Julie's List provides a listing of several resources for foster kids and those aging out, and Save Our Children has a whole list of aging out resources. 

In Ohio, the wikispace Life After Foster Care outlines some useful resources.  Here's a link on Medicaid for aging out fostered young people in Ohio


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