In the midst of a pandemic, our communities have been hit hard by COVID-19, particularly for young people with foster care experience. Many of them are struggling to stay housed, afford food, and are worried about their futures.
In Nebraska, we are fortunate to have a program like Bridge to Independence (B2I), which supports young people who age out of foster care and transition to adulthood until age 21. We commend the B2I program for meeting participants where they are at during the pandemic, by relaxing eligibility work and school requirements to continue supporting young people.
But there is more that can be done to support young people, not only in Nebraska but across the nation, too.
Nebraska’s federal delegation can show their support for young people in and aging out of foster care during these times by:
- Increasing Chafee funding used to support transition-aged youth, by $500 million.
- Extending Chafee eligibility for all youth to age 23.
- Suspending the participation requirements (work, school, etc) for youth in extended foster care during the crisis.
- Place a moratorium on youth aging out during the crisis and allow states to draw down Title IV-E funds until youth are age 22.
We deeply appreciate that Representative Bacon has co-sponsored H.R.6766 and H.R.6848, which increases Chafee funding and allows young people to remain in foster care to receive support during the pandemic. Please urge Representatives Fortenberry and Smith to join him in co-sponsoring both bills.
Dist. 1 – Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (202) 225-4806
Dist. 3 – Rep. Adrian Smith (202) 225-6435
The Senate must act quickly to pass the HEROES Act, a bill the House recently passed to support families and communities as the country continues to confront the COVID-19 public health crisis. Please call your senator and ask them to include important measures to support Nebraska youth in the bill, and then pass this vital legislation.
Sen. Deb Fischer (202) 224-6551
Sen. Ben Sasse (202) 224-4224
We must support young people at a time when they need it the most. Thank you for your continued advocacy.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month. Read our latest blog from Nedhal Al-kazahy, Nebraska Appleseed’s former Child Welfare Youth Fellow, about bringing hope and seeing the good in the foster care system.