Louisiana Has Extended Foster Care to 21 Years Old
One of the signs that we are living in a civilized age is that we care for those in need. Could we do a better job of looking after those who can't look after themselves? Absolutely! But, the fact that we have programs designed to care for kids without parents says a lot. These children have done nothing to be in this situation, and certainly deserve a chance to grow up and become a productive member of society at the very least. One of the unseen pitfalls of foster care, however, is that it stops abruptly the moment that child becomes a legal adult. Unfortunately not every child is prepared to take on the full mantle of adulthood, that is especially true for kids that do not have a caring parent or parents in their life to help prepare them.
Thankfully, this oversight has been recognized and corrected. Governor John Bel Edwards has signed into law a provision that would extend care for foster kids until the age of 21. This will help these young adults transition from the world of high school to the real world. This time period would be set aside for preparing for college, trade school, or work with a focus on learning how to take care of yourself. However, there are a few stipulations. According to Postsouth.com, young adults that want to take advantage of these extended services must be:
enrolled in a post-secondary vocational or educational program;
enrolled in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment;
employed at least 80 hours per month; or
Have a medical condition that renders the young adult incapable of engaging in any of these activities.
Foster children who have already aged-out of the program will be allowed to re-enroll. The move will help combat the higher likelihood of foster children expelled from service programs of experiencing homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, unemployment, early pregnancy and dependence on public assistance.