Many of Arizona’s current and former youth are in line for more federal help to get them through the pandemic, the state Department of Child Safety has announced.
The change means young adults currently in foster care and former foster youth who have not yet turned 27 years old will be able to tap funds made available under a law Congress passed in December, the COVID-19 Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020.
The new law permits Arizona and other states to allow qualified young adults to spend supplemental Title IV-E funds on their housing, education, employment services and other needs.
“We know the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly difficult on youth aging out of our extended foster care program,” said Mike Faust, director of children’s safety. “This funding will allow us to provide critical services to young adults even after they turn 21 or have already exited foster care.”
The money will be available through Sept. 21, until the funds run out, or other legislation or directives change the program. The change also allows for re-entry into the extended foster care program for youth who have aged out since January 2020.
The child welfare-related pandemic package signed by former president Trump in December included $400 million for direct assistance to older foster youth, and a requirement that states allow youth to remain in foster care past the standard age ceiling of 21 during the national emergency.
To qualify for the funds, young Arizona residents must be at least 18 years old and younger than 27 and have been in foster care after the age of 14 or currently in the system. The state has set up an online application portal and is reaching out to those who might be eligible. Applicants must demonstrate their needs to the Department of Child Safety.
Federal officials from the Trump administration, and the Biden team, have stressed that states should use at least some of the money to issue direct cash support to current and former foster youth.
Click here for a full breakdown of the rules and regulations around the recent pandemic assistance for child welfare.