MONTGOMERY – Some young adults who left foster care during the COVID-19 pandemic now have the opportunity to return temporarily and receive additional support from the Alabama Department of Human Resources.
The new option is part of the Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act, a federal law that suspends some requirements for current and former foster youths. The law, enacted in December 2020, addresses the increased risk of homelessness and other negative outcomes for young adults who transitioned from foster care to independent living amid the instability of the pandemic.
Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner said, “Getting on your feet after leaving foster care can be a challenge under normal circumstances, let alone during a pandemic. Most of these young adults don’t have family to act as a safety net, which puts them at an increased risk of homelessness. This law provides flexibility to support these youths through the pandemic as they continue their successful transitions into adulthood.”
Since Jan. 27, 2020, approximately 75 young adults have aged out of Alabama’s foster care system after reaching the age limit of 21 set by state and federal law. Another 265 youths left foster care voluntarily at age 19. Those individuals, along with current foster youths who are 18-20 years old, can learn more about their options by visiting ilconnect.org or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The reentry and age limit provisions of the law expire after Sept. 30, 2021.
These services are designed to ensure the safety and well-being of current and former foster youths. DHR workers at the state and county levels will help youths develop skills for independent living and work to build them permanent support networks. Some also may qualify for additional financial assistance to cover some of their living and education expenses. Similar support services may be available for other former foster youths until age 27.
More information about foster care in Alabama is available at dhr.alabama.gov/foster-care.