That transition is even more difficult for children in foster care. Foster children face disadvantage from the start—they are more likely, for example, to become entangled in the criminal legal system, and less likely to graduate from college—and those who age out of the system without placement into a permanent home are abruptly abandoned, left to fend for themselves between the ages of 18 or 21. The government functions as their parent, and then swiftly extinguishes financial support, depriving foster kids of the safety net that so many of their peers increasingly find necessary. This added disparity compounds the systemic disadvantage that foster kids already endure, and puts them at heightened risk for poverty, homelessness, and incarceration.
States and localities can address this crisis by providing a regular stipend to young people as they transition from child welfare systems to life as independent adults. Direct cash payments are immediate and flexible. Recipients can apply payments to their most pressing needs, and the stipends are not, nor should be, encumbered by restrictions like unemployment. A regular income pays for basic needs like education, groceries, rent, or healthcare, depending on the person’s circumstances at the moment. For young people who suddenly find themselves without a meaningful support system, this type of initiative can be a lifeline, with benefits for both the recipients and their communities. […]
The federal government has increasingly recognized the moral imperative of supporting foster care children into adulthood. For instance, the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program provides funds to help with everything from education to emotional support, and it authorizes Congress to provide states and tribes with training vouchers of up to $5,000 per year for youth likely to experience difficulty as they transition to adulthood. In addition, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act provides federal funding to states that extend foster care up to age 21. To date, 28 states and the District of Columbia have taken up the option to extend care. In light of pandemic-created hardships, some states have gone further, using their own funds to allow youth to remain in care past their 21st birthday during the pandemic. […]
THREE OTHER ARTICLES WORTH READING
“We did the worst job in the world”: Lawrence Wright on America’s botched Covid-19 response by Sean Illing. The three moments that doomed the U.S. effort to combat the coronavirus.
Section 230 is 25 years old, and it’s never been more important by Adi Robertson. The real questions behind reform.
How Biden Can Bring Back Manufacturing Jobs by Roger Bybee. The president’s plan to reinforce the Buy American Act is the first step in reviving the U.S. industry.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis clinches the win for the Bruins with a 9.95 floor exercise performance against Arizona State.
TOP COMMENTS • RESCUED DIARIES • THE BRIEF
“This is obviously the most serious crime against our country and Constitution of any president in history, and the fact that it took place in the last month doesn’t make it less serious.”
~~Rep. Adam Schiff, Jan. 17, 2021
BLAST FROM THE PAST
On this date at Daily Kos in 2013—Drug tests for welfare bills come to three more states:
Looking at the range of drug testing-for-benefits bills being pushed in state legislatures across the country, you almost have to suspect Republicans of some kind of urine fetish. In addition to all the states that are debating or have passed bills requiring people applying for unemployment insurance benefits to pee in cups, drug-testing bills aimed at welfare applicants are being introduced in three states. The specifics would be ripe for comedy if we weren’t talking about a concerted effort by the powerful to stigmatize vulnerable people as drug addicts, as if that’s the only reason a person might need help in an economy in which there are still more than three job-seekers for every job opening:
The Ohio State Senate held a second hearing Thursday night on a proposal to establish pilot drug-testing programs in three counties. Under the proposal, applicants would be required to submit a drug test if they disclose that they have used illegal substances. The proposal was first introduced in the spring, but pressure from opponents led Gov. John Kasich to squash the bill in May.
Virginia Republicans are also reviving a bill that was shelved earlier this year. The 2012 version failed after the state estimated it would cost $1.5 million to implement while only saving $229,000. The bill’s sponsor, Delegate Dickie Bell, has not introduced the updated version yet, but says he’s found more cost effective options.
Those would have to be some pretty damn significant changes to the cost structure to erase a nearly $1.25 million deficit.