The Iowa Department of Human Services is ready to cut checks to people between ages 18 and 26 who are or have been in the child welfare system — a one-time payment of $750 to help them help pay rent and utilities.
In the big picture, the money is intended to help thousands of eligible recipients make the difficult transition to adulthood despite the financial, educational and personal setbacks many foster youth have experienced during the coronavirus emergency.
The $4.7 million that will be going to thousands of young Iowans represents a sliver of the $2.3 trillion federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, a stimulus-and-relief bill Congress passed last December with strong bipartisan support.
What recipients do with the money is an individual choice, although it’s intended to help with essentials like rent, utilities and food. Details on eligibility and application can be found at the Iowa Aftercare Services Network.
The award supplements the Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood, which provides federal funding to states to assist older youth in foster care and those who age out.
It includes vouchers for education and training, adding nearly $700,000 in support for college students who’ve aged out of foster care. States must use the new funds by Sept. 30, 2022. The money comes on top of Iowa’s annual Chafee allocation of about $2.2 million, according to the Iowa Department of Human Services.