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New law allows extended foster care support for young adults ages 18 to 21

A new law that went into effect Sunday will allow teens in the foster care system to receive support through the age of 21.

“Many young adults in foster care are not prepared for self-sufficiency by age 18,” said Wayne Black, North Carolina Senior Director for Social Services and County Operations. “Their life experiences create additional challenges to overcome. Extending services to age 21 provides additional guidance and assistance, and offers a support network in early adulthood, allowing for independence with a safety net.”

More than 10,000 children in the state live in foster care, according to statistics released last year by the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina.

Young adults choose to remain in foster care are more likely to obtain a high school diploma and enroll in college, and they are less likely to become involved in the criminal justice system, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The legislation, which was passed in a 2015 session, requires young adults receiving extended foster care services to be enrolled in school, a job or skills training program or working at least 80 hours per month unless they are physically disabled and cannot fulfill that requirement.

You can read the full law here.

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