Pa.extends services for older youth in foster care due to coronavirus and other factors

Written by on May 31, 2021

Pa.extends services for older youth in foster care due to coronavirus and other factors

By Hayden Mitman

May 31, 2021

Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services is extending support for older youth who have aged out of the foster care system.

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The move comes in response to the additional stresses that the pandemic has put on members of this community. 

When she was 15, Norma Cutting entered the state’s foster care system. She says that she and her siblings have bounced between homes of in-laws and foster families over the years. 

The past year has been especially difficult, she says. 

“It was hard trying to get to know the environment I was living in and trying to make bonds with everybody that my adopted family was close to because we really couldn’t see them that much,” Cutting says.  

Now 19, Cutting currently has been placed in a home in York. 

Meg Snead, acting DHS secretary, says there is more than $400 million in federal funding to support youth, like Cutting, who would otherwise have aged out of foster care.

“Without support, there’s a very real risk youth who have left the foster care system will become homeless or experience other negative outcomes,” Snead says.

DHS wants to help prevent that from happening, she says.

“Many young people have struggled to provide for their basic needs. This is intended to provide those youth with assistance and recovery by providing child welfare agencies the funding and flexibility to meet those urgent needs,” Snead says. 

Youth who left foster care amid the pandemic may re-enter regardless of age. 

Eligibility for these after care programs will expire in September. For more information, visit Childwelfare.gov

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