Youth speak out on ‘aging out’ of foster care; requesting extension on age limit

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HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Foster care facilities are continuing to push for the “aging out” limit to be extended.

When someone ages out of foster care, it can be difficult adjusting to life as an adult. This past year, the federal government offered a safety net for individuals not quite ready to be on their own, but that will soon no longer be the case.

During the pandemic, the “Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act” was put into place to allow time for those in the system to adjust to adult life. However, on Thursday, September 30th, this act will expire.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is working with foster care facilities to encourage policy reforms to continue helping those aging out from 18 to 27-years-old.

21-year-old Brierra Shoup recently aged out of the system. She says not having a family to support her when she legally became an adult was difficult.

Once you get out of the foster care system, you don’t know what you’re doing.

Brierra Shoup, West Virginia resident

Former foster care youth James McIntyre also aged out of the system and now works for Court-Appointed Special Advocates in Chicago, Illinois. Both McIntyre and Shoup say they’re on board with extending the age limit on a national level.

I don’t want other people who are similar like me or as I refer to them as my brothers and sisters, no matter what state they’re in, to have to fight for basic services.

James McIntyre, CASA

State senators are also commenting on this possibility. West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito released the following statement:

Throughout my time representing West Virginians in Congress, I’ve consistently worked to deliver needed resources and support to our state’s foster children, and help improve West Virginia’s foster care system as a whole. As legislation is introduced, I’ll prioritize the well-being of those in foster care, regardless of their age, who were particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia

In December 2020, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown successfully secured several provisions from his “Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act” into the spending bill to prevent young people from aging out of foster care. Last year, his bill to prevent youth homelessness was also signed into law.

Senator Brown also weighed in with this statement:

It’s critical that Congress act now and extend the moratorium on ‘aging out’ of foster care. Now more than ever – as we continue to recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic –  we cannot afford to cut young Ohioans off from critical housing and support services. Every young person deserves a safe and stable place to call home.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D) Ohio

We also reached out to other U.S. senators in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia and have not heard back yet.

This is a developing story, and we will continue to update it on WOWKTV.com, the WOWK 13 News App, and on 13 News on air.

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