A new national report released today (11/14) shows that more Virginia youth are aging out of foster care without permanent homes than most other states across the country.
20% of the Commonwealth’s youth aged out of foster care on their own in 2014, more than double the national average.
Up until July of last year, youth in the state aged out of foster care at age 18. But now youth are eligible for services until age 21 through the Fostering Futures program.
Voices for Virginia’s Children Policy Analyst Allison Gilbreath says that’s a huge deal, allowing those young people to tap into federal funds for housing, higher education and more. “We’d been trying for several years to get that passed,” Gilbreath said. “That gave youth access to case worker support, which is critical because they need the support.”
Gilbreath says more needs to be done to promote kinship. Currently, she says Virginia does a better job providing financial support to non-relatives seeking to adopt than they do for relatives of youth in foster care.