Adolescence can often be a challenging time as teenagers begin their journey into adulthood. Living in foster care can make this time even more difficult. At age 18 in some states and age 21 in others, foster children become ineligible for most state-funded assistance and are required to leave their foster homes. They are expected to become independent adults overnight.

A recent Florida law, the Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act will now allow children the option to stay in foster care until the age of 21, with continued government assistance.  We are very pleased about this law since, as a group, foster youth fare worse than their peers in areas such as education and employment.

They also face many other barriers that make aging out of foster care that much more difficult, and have a higher rate of homelessness and housing instability, compared to their peers.  We believe the Independent Living Act will provide foster youth with the additional time and support they may need as they strive to gain stability and independence in their lives.

On prior occasions, we’ve written about the topic of children aging out of foster care.  For those who don’t have a path to follow after age 21 and find themselves homeless, Coalition for the Homeless is here to help.