This is inevitable and it happens to every child who is in foster care until they are 18. Today’s story of a girl aging out goes this way –
My son’s girlfriend is living with us. She is just aging out of foster care and I would like some help finding supports to put in place. Her mother is deceased and her father is incarcerated (I hate to give too much info but I don’t know if that changes her eligibility). She needs health insurance and is trying to go to college. They are planning to move cross country in a few weeks so I am trying to help her as quickly as possible. Any info on where I can turn for help for her is appreciated. She is a sweet kid.
Sharing some answers that may help someone else with similar circumstances.
For the health insurance, simply aging out of foster care could make her eligible for Medicaid. This does vary by state.
One recommendation was actually to enlist in the Army – this can be full time, reserves, or National Guard. They offer many college incentives plus a good bonus, stable income, and health care. Many (including the person suggesting this) that joined the military found it was a great opportunity for them.
It was mentioned that she may qualify for SSI due to the death of her mom. Depending on why she went into foster care she may qualify for VOCA (is that The Victims of Crime Act ? – the state may have filed an application or she may not even know that it’s available to her).
This does NOT seem generally known but someone said – If she is under 21 most states offer foster care until 21. It’s not nearly as invasive as it is for kids under 18. She can get a monthly stipend to put towards housing, Medicaid, and other help as long as she meets the requirements – typically in school or working at least part time.
There is a Preparation for Adult Living program that is part of Child Protective Services agencies that exists to help teens aging out of foster care. So contacting the coordinator of that program to inquire about benefits could be helpful.
There is The Free Application for Federal Student Aid which may give special consideration to youth aging out of foster care. There may be other scholarships available – this organization may be able to help Foster Care to Success. A student like her should qualify for a full Pell grant. Depending on the state, she might be eligible for reduced or free state college because she was in foster care.
Finally, one more link. iFoster has programs to assist Transition Age Foster Youth.