Law Benefitting Foster Youth Breezes Through Committee
Last week in the state legislature in Nashville, the judiciary committee unanimously passed legislation aimed at enhancing the support system for youth in foster care. State Senator Steve Southerland says that Senate Bill 2398 proposes the state reimburse eligible relatives of foster children to support the cost of raising the child. Southerland stated that many relatives of foster youth who would like to care for the child, but lack the means to do so. To keep foster children in the care of relatives in such situations, this bill proposes reimbursing the relative caregiver 50 percent of the full foster care rate for the care of the child if certain conditions are met.
The bill would also expand eligibility of 18 to 21-year-olds who are transitioning from state custody to adulthood to be able to access services. Under present law, foster youth between the ages of 18 to 21 can continue to receive services provided they are in school. This bill would allow youth in the job market to also be eligible for those benefits. Southerland says that as many as 300 foster youths a year could benefit from that provision of the law.