Senate Passes Foster Care Age Extension Bill Sponsored By Senator Caswell
Friday, July 01, 2011
LANSING – In an effort to provide a more stable transition into adulthood for foster children, the Michigan Senate today unanimously passed Senate Bill 435, legislation sponsored by Senator Bruce Caswell (R-Hillsdale) that allows foster children from the age of 18 to 21 to continue to receive foster care and guardianship assistance. Under current law, when a child in foster care turns 18, he no longer qualifies for assistance. This often causes a hardship for these young adults at a time when they cannot generally provide for their own support.
Senate Bill 435 would require recipients of the extended foster care benefits to participate in one or more of the following activities: high school; classes to prepare for a general education diploma exam; full-time or part-time enrollment in a college, university, or trade school; enrollment in a program designed to remove barriers to employment; or, working at least 80 hours a month. The legislation would waive the work and education requirement if a youth has a medical condition that prevents participation in these activities.
“This legislation is a compassionate solution for a problem that has faced countless foster children in Michigan over the years when they reach adulthood. Parents would not kick their children out of their homes just because they turn 18 and we should not do that to foster kids,” said Caswell. “Through this bill we provide foster children in their early adult years much-needed support at a time when they face many changes and challenges in their lives.”
Senate Bill 435 will advance to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.
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