Colorado youth who have transitioned out of foster care can re-enter the system if they wish to access services expanded under a new state law.
The state Department of Human Services’ Division of Child Welfare will attempt to reach out to eligible youth to let them know about the change, but from there it’ll be up to the youth to petition the juvenile court or the child welfare agency in their county.
Returning to foster care would allow eligible youth to access assistance in all sorts of areas, including Medicaid, housing, case management, employment, education and the acquisition of driver’s licenses and identification documents.
Until now, help for these young adults has been limited. The transition to independent adulthood is rarely easy, even for people who have grown up with a reasonable amount of family support, backers say. Many foster youth have not had that advantage and as a result some may have experienced sex trafficking, homelessness, incarceration, poverty, hunger and single parenthood.
Participants must be prepared to meet with county officials to discuss their needs and agree to live up to certain expectations in order to continue in the program. They must also check in with the court twice a year, accompanied by their court-appointed attorney, to make sure they’re on track to a successful adulthood.
The Foster Youth in Transition bill was signed by Gov. Jared Polis on June 25.
The program will cost the general fund nearly $461,000 in the current fiscal year, roughly $1.16 million next year and nearly $1.6 million in 2023-24, with the federal government kicking in almost $378,000 a year.