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Advocates, Attorneys: Effort to Extend Florida Foster Child Care to 21 Years a Good Idea

“Aging Out” of foster care might become a slower process for thousands of Florida foster care children, believe advocates, attorneys, guardians and other care givers.

The way the system works now, children turning 18 are forced to leave the foster care system. They’re left to handle unemployment, homelessness, pregnancy – even getting a driver license or earn their high school diploma – on their own.

Now, a proposal under development from the Florida Department of Children and Families may seek to extend foster care to age 21. According to the Fort Myers News-Press, the extension would “broaden access to pre-independent living services and extends adoption subsidies for teens.” It actually costs the system more to “age out” kids at 18 than to extend their assistance for a few more years.

The proposal would need Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s approval, and then find a sponsor in the Legislature.

“Many people, not just foster kids, aren’t prepared to be independent when they turn 18,” Alan Abramowitz, DCF’s director of the family safety program office, told the News-Press. “This gives youths an opportunity that youths should have.”

Aging out is a threat that looms large for too many foster kids who aren’t prepared to be on their own. We agree with this concept and hope it finds the support it deserves in the Capital.

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