Proposed bill expands funding sources for adult foster children in SC

Measure awaits Senate approval
Adult foster children could get federal help with extended services
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A measure that focuses on extended assistance for South Carolina foster children entering adulthood has made it to the SC Senate. Currently, if a foster child requests to stay in the system after turning 18, public funding comes solely from the state. House Bill 3509 would change that and set up the legal mechanisms needed for federal funding and additional assistance to help foster children ages 18 through 20.

The South Carolina Youth Advocate Program (SCYAP) is a nonprofit that works with the SC Department of Social Services and provides therapeutic services to children and parents in foster care system.

“Most of our kids age out at 18 but can continue to receive minimal services until 21,” Alexandra Rodriguez, spokesperson for SCYAP, told FOX Carolina.

Rodriguez said it’s important to make sure adult foster children are adequately prepared to handle basic responsibilities that may have been overlooked - like preparing for job interviews, grocery shopping and managing money.

“Most of the time that’s taught by a parent,” Rodriguez said. “(With) them being in the system and shuffled around so much, I don’t think they get that kind of education.”

Sheri McCrary, a Simpsonville business owner and former foster child, said she was kicked out of her foster home at the age of 18.

“I had to figure out life,” McCrary said. “Nobody taught me anything on how to live on my own or pay rent or bills.”

McCrary said extended support as she entered adulthood would have been especially helpful in dealing with the traumatic events that landed her in foster care and the emotional turmoil she experienced while in the system.

“Survival is not a problem,” McCrary said. “Stability is the problem.”