Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
September 10, 2008  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Applauds Senate Finance Committee Approval of Comprehensive Adoption and Foster Care Bill  

 Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today commended the Senate Finance Committee’s approval of the Improved Adoption Incentives and Relative Guardianship Support Act, which includes a provision championed by Senator Boxer to extend essential foster care services to young people between the ages 18 and 21. The provision was recommended to Boxer by former San Francisco State Senator John Burton.

Boxer said, “In my home state of California, about 65 percent of emancipated youth face homelessness, less than three percent go to college, and 51 percent are unemployed. This legislation is a first step toward ensuring that young adults who still need foster care services can get them and transition successfully into adulthood.”

The specific provision, based on the Foster Care Continuing Opportunities Act which Boxer introduced in 2007, would allow States to continue to receive federal reimbursement for foster care services, adoption assistance, and relative guardianship support for children who “age out” of the system at age 18. States would be eligible for reimbursement for services to those youth who are completing high school, enrolled in college or vocational program, participating in an employment program, working at least 80 hours a month, or deemed to be a “high-risk individual.”

The measure also requires States to work with these foster care youth to create a transition plan for employment, housing, health insurance, education, mentoring, and other support services.

Each year, more than 24,000 youth are emancipated from the foster care system when they turn 18 and are no longer eligible for assistance. In California, approximately 4,200 foster youth who turn 18 are emancipated each year. Due to lack of support from family and mentors that guide many of their peers, these foster youth are less prepared to transition to adulthood. This bill would provide continued foster care services for these older youth.