Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth Co-Chairs Introduce the Pandemic Protection for Transition-Age Foster Youth Act

May 13, 2020

WASHINGTON— Today, the Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Paul Mitchell (R-MI), and Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) introduced the Pandemic Protection for Transition-Age Foster Youth Act of 2020, which protects transition-age foster youth during the COVID pandemic response by allowing young people who are already in foster care and/or participating in the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to continue to be served if they age out during the pandemic response.

The Co-Chairs released the following joint statement:

“Studies made public as recently as this week have shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has had horrific impacts on current and former foster youth in this country. Many are now homeless, and many more are unemployed. This important piece of legislation will make sure that the young people our government is providing care to do not lose their housing, tuition support, or agency and community connections during the pandemic response just because they turned one year older. We urge our colleagues to join us in supporting this bill.”

Background:

Congress has defined eligibility for foster care up to the age of 21 and eligibility for Chafee benefits up to the age of 23. Unless Congress acts now, any young person who grows older than these limits during the COVID-19 response period is no longer eligible for benefits they were receiving before and cannot receive support or services with these funding sources. The temporary waiver in the Pandemic Protection for Transition-Age Foster Youth Act would start as of January 1, 2020, and end when the COVID-19 emergency declaration ends.