Reps. Walorski and Davis Champion Pandemic Protections for Foster Youth
Washington, DC– Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Representative Danny K. Davis (D-IL) issued the following statement on their introduction of the bipartisan Continued State Flexibility to Assist Older Foster Youth Act, which is a bill to restore temporary service options to assist older foster youth during the pandemic.
In December 2020, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Representatives Walorski and Davis, the Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act, was enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The legislation included flexibility in certain programmatic services for Chafee-eligible current and former foster youth who have especially struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic, a protection against foster youth being required to age out of care, additional supports to serve those youth during the pandemic, as well as funding to states to absorb costs. Those provisions were authorized through September 30, 2021, and today Rep. Walorski and Rep. Davis have introduced legislation to keep certain Chafee funding flexibilities in place for another year as new variants of the coronavirus continue to create challenges for youth.
“America’s most vulnerable foster youth face unique challenges even in normal times, but the COVID-19 pandemic has created even more obstacles to overcome. The Continued State Flexibility to Assist Older Foster Youth Act will allow states to keep in place important flexibilities in the Chafee program so they can continue to support vulnerable youth in Indiana and across the country. I’m grateful to Chairman Davis for his partnership in building on past reforms to help families thrive.” — Ranking Member of the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Jackie Walorski (R-IN)
“Foster youth continue to face substantial hardships due to the pandemic-related economic and health crises. I am proud to lead the Continued State Flexibility to Assist Older Foster Youth Act with Rep. Walorski to restore critical Chafee program flexibilities that improved the circumstances of tens of thousands of older foster youth and former foster youth. These flexibilities include using Chafee funds to help youth up to age 27: remain housed, continue to benefit from an enhanced John H. Chafee Educational and Training Vouchers Program, access other supportive services, and gain independence through driving programs. We know that the Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act helped so many young people during the emergency. Rep. Walorski and I remain committed to working together to provide the stability and certainty needed, and we hope that the Continued State Flexibility to Assist Older Foster Youth Act will be enacted so that we can keep helping youth during the pandemic. We welcome the earnest advocacy of current and former foster youth who continue to push for policies to help you remain safe.” — Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL)
Nearly 20,000 youth age out of foster care each year. While the COVID-19 pandemic presents difficulties for all Americans, foster youth and former foster youth are particularly in need given that they are more likely to be without reliable adults and other supports in their lives. The Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act expired on Sept. 30th, and the Continued State Flexibility to Assist Older Foster Youth Act, if enacted, will continue key programmatic flexibilities for Chafee-eligible youth.