Wary Foster Kids Prepare for Independence: Help On the Way?

Patrick Boyle
April 1, 1999

President Clinton and Rep. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) have made proposals to increase federal support for Independent and Transitional Living Programs. Clinton is seeking to boost funding for several programs through his proposed FY 2000 budget. Cardin’s Transition To Adulthood Program Act of 1999, also known as H.R. 671, would extend availability of some financial assistance. Below are highlights of the proposals:

President Clinton’s FY 2000 Budget
  • Independent Living Program: Increase funding by 50 percent, from the current $70 million to $105 million. The ILP, authorized by Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, is designed to help foster children make the transition to self-sufficiency by helping them complete their high school educations, providing training in daily living skills, providing counseling and coordinating social services. The funds can be used for youth aged 16 or older, but does not allow payments for room and board.

  • Transitional Support Program for Older Youth: Create a demonstration program of competitive grants to states to provide economic support for young people age 18-21, funded at $50 million over four years. This is for children who “age out” of foster care maintenance eligibility (usually at 18, although in some states it’s 21). This would give those young people a source of economic support for basic living expenses, such as room and board, while they work or complete their education.

  • Transitional Living Program: Increase discretionary funding by 33 percent, from $15 million to $20 million. The TLP, authorized by the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, provides grants to local community-based organizations to provide services such as residential care, life skills training and vocational training to homeless youth age 16-21. While the ILP serves foster children, the TLP serves homeless youth who are not in the custody of state child welfare systems. An unknown percentage of this group includes former foster kids.

    Transition To Adulthood Program Act of 1999
  • Gives states the option of extending Title IV-E assistance to former foster youth up to age 21 as long as they are working or enrolled in educational activities, and have a plan to become completely self-sufficient. Funds could be used for programs designed to promote education, training or employment.

  • Promotes interagency collaboration to ensure that housing needs are met for youth aging out of the foster care system.

  • Updates funding resources, asset limits and the distribution formula for the ILP.

  • Provides tax credits to employers who hire former foster children.

Boyle, Patrick. "Wary Foster Kids Prepare for Independence: Help On the Way?" Youth Today, April 1999, p. 23.

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