Monday, March 19, 2012

Kudos to Chelsea Hoover for sharing her voice to support the next generation of foster care youth

Senate panel backs foster care transition bill
Yetter, Deborah. Courier-Journal. March 15, 2012.

FRANKFORT, KY. — In and out of foster care since she was an infant, Chelsea Hoover was ready to leave the system at 18.

But after some tough experiences on her own, and having no support, Hoover said she wished she had taken advantage of what the state calls “extended commitment,” in which youths who turn 18 can continue to receive assistance from state social services with housing, school and other needs.

“All I really wanted was to be safe,” Hoover, who is now 19, said Wednesday in testimony before a legislative panel in support of a bill to give teens more time to make that decision.

After hearing from Hoover, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee gave unanimous approval to Senate Bill 213, sponsored by Sen. Ken Winters, R-Murray, which is designed to make it easier for youths to return to state care until age 21 if they so choose.

Under current law, youths have six months to decide whether they wish to return to state care. SB 213 would extend that to one year.

It also would require state social service officials to begin counseling youths six months before they turn 18 about their choices and whether they wish to remain in care past 18. And it would change the term “extended commitment” to “transitional living support.”

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