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Foster Care Extension Proposed

Legislation introduced recently in the state Assembly would establish a six-month moratorium on aging out of foster care.

Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-Poughkeepsie, introduced A.10510 to add a new paragraph in the state’s Unconsolidated Law to require the state to continue providing the same care to youth and caregivers that would be provided had the youth not turned 18 years of age during the moratorium.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a need for youth turning 18 to remain in the foster care system until the public health crisis is over and the economy begins to recover,” Barrett wrote in her legislative justification. “In much of New York state, critical sectors of the economy are currently closed down, making it impossible for youth to begin living on their own. For example, most businesses are closed, and even fewer are willing to hire 18 year-olds exiting the foster system right now. Apartment rentals are considered non-essential, making it extremely difficult to find a place to live. The COVID-19 pandemic will also exacerbate food insecurity, mental and behavioral health problems, and completing an education.”

Barrett proposes splitting the cost between the federal, state and local governments. The federal government would pay half of the additional cost, with the rest split between the state and counties. She estimates the total impact to be less than $1 million.

“Advocates estimate that about 1,000 young people will be helped by this legislation,” Barrett said. “This measure will act as a stop gap for the next six months, so that our state can access the ability of youth to transition out of the system. This will allow for further policy in the near future.”

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