How the System Fails Youth, Part 4: Former Ward Services Too Narrow

Every day this week, we will provide a in-depth look into the needs of youth in foster care.

Nadia was 12 years old when she was adopted from Russia.  At the age of 17, she was removed from her adoptive parents’ home and placed in the foster care system.  When Nadia aged out, she was fortunate enough to be approved for the Former Ward program, which provided her with financial support for post-secondary education and Medicaid coverage until she turned 21.

However, the Former Ward program did not help Nadia access stable housing or case management services.  In Nadia’s words, “I wish I had not just money coming, …but someone that would help me to find a good, stable home and make the right decisions.”  Extending foster care services to the age of 21 would provide exactly this by offering not only medical coverage and educational assistance, but also housing and case management services.

Nadia, along with three other young adults who aged out of foster care, testified at the hearing for LB 1150 on February 2nd and shared their perspectives on the need for additional support and resources for this population.  From their stories, it is clear that Nebraska must make a commitment to doing a better job of guiding 19-year-olds through what may be the most important transition of their lives.

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