Foster youth with medical concerns to receive extended care

Foster youth often face a difficult transition into adulthood when services typically end.

  • Wednesday, May 13, 2015 2:51pm
  • News
Rep. Tina Orwall and Sen. Joe Fain

Rep. Tina Orwall and Sen. Joe Fain

For the Reporter

Foster youth often face a difficult transition into adulthood when services typically end.

Legislation signed into law Monday, sponsored by Sen. Joe Fain and Rep. Tina Orwall, will provide extended benefits to young adults ages 19-21 with medical conditions who do not already qualify for extended foster care, which requires them to be enrolled in school, job training or employed. Services include foster care placement, medical services, transitional living services and help meeting their basic needs.

“Transitioning into adulthood for any youth can be daunting; foster youth face an even greater challenge. Throw in a debilitating medical condition and it’s a perfect storm. We have a responsibility to provide care for those who need it most. This legislation is both good investment and a moral imperative,” said Fain, R-Auburn, who has worked to pass legislation adding to the eligibility since 2012.

“Extending assistance to young adults who are working or in school provides them with the foundation needed to be on their own. By extending these services to people with medical conditions that prevent them from holding a job or attending class we’re helping our most vulnerable community members while reducing long-term costs,” Fain said.

In 2014, the Legislature provided extended benefits to foster youth who work more than 80 hours per month, after previously making it available to those who were in school or in a job training program.

“Our foster youth, especially those young adults facing significant health challenges, need additional support to transition,” said Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, who sponsored the companion bill. “I am glad we’re taking this important step to help some of the most vulnerable among us because it really will make a difference not only for them, but also for the entire community.”

In 2010, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy released a study it conducted on a similar pilot program, which indicated participants: remained in college longer; required food stamps for fewer total months; and were less likely to be arrested of a misdemeanor or felony crime.

“Since 2006 the state of Washington has been on the path of providing youth aging out of foster care with a healthy option beyond homelessness and incarceration,” said Jim Theofolis, executive director of the Mockingbird Society, a foster youth advocacy group. “I am so appreciative for Sen. Joe Fain and Rep. Tina Orwall’s leadership in getting the Extended Foster Care bill passed into law.

“Having those youth with documented medical conditions become eligible ensures that the most vulnerable of the vulnerable young people can now share in the opportunity and promise of the Extended Foster Care program,” Theofolis said. “Youth aging out of foster care have the same aspirations for a healthy adult life as all young people do and they deserve the same supports to succeed. Our entire state owes a debt of gratitude to Sen. Fain and Rep. Orwall.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

T
Penalty for illegal camping divides Auburn City Council

On April 19, the Auburn City Council upgraded the penalty for illegal… Continue reading

File photo
Firefighters sniff out source of mysterious natural gas smell | Fire blotter

Between April 12 and April 18, the Valley Regional Fire Authority responded… Continue reading

The site of the former Heritage Apartments in downtown Auburn on Monday. Robert Whale, Auburn Reporter
Heritage Apartments owner is expected to start on replacement this summer

On Dec. 26, 2017, a fire destroyed the Heritage Apartments building in… Continue reading

File photo
Driver trapped in semi-truck that crashed into tree | Fire blotter

Between April 5 and April 11, the Valley Regional Fire Authority responded… Continue reading

King County District Court, South Division, Auburn Courthouse is located in the City of Auburn at 340 E. Main St. in the Auburn Justice Center. This facility provides court services for the cities of Auburn and Covington. File photo
Auburn ponders states of its aging public facilities

Consultant offers multiple recommendations.

Volunteers for the city of Auburn's Adopt-a-Street Program recently during a momentary pause from their labors. Courtesy photo, City of Auburn
.
Adopt-a-Street Program tweaks rules to allow volunteers to be one-event cleaner-uppers

You may see them from time-to-time along Auburn’s streets, groups of people… Continue reading

T
Auburn studies criminal penalties for illegal camping on public property

After tramping through a dozen or so of Auburn’s homeless encampments, they… Continue reading

File photo
Ex-boyfriend threatens woman with taser | Auburn police blotter

Between April 6 and April 13, Auburn Police responded to the following… Continue reading

Most Read