Youth who have aged out of foster care now have option to re-enter, access aftercare services

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) – Youth who have aged out of the foster care system are being encouraged to contact their county child welfare agency for help accessing aftercare services.

The Department of Human Services‘ Acting Secretary Meg Snead says, far too often, young adults exit the system without any stable housing or income; leaving them at risk of becoming homeless, or experiencing other negative outcomes.

To address this, Pennsylvania made a permanent policy change. Older youth can now access aftercare services until they’re 23. Previously, those services ended on or after one’s 21’st birthday.

“Available aftercare services include needs assessment and case planning, life skills training, prevention services, education support services, help finding employment and housing, assistance with room and board, retreats and camps, and indirect services, among others,” said Snead. 

A provision called the Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act, was also made to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This allows those who’ve aged out of the system during the pandemic to voluntarily re-enter until Sept. 30 of this year, regardless of their current age.

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