Fighting for benefits before independence

Two years ago the Florida Legislature passed a bill that extended the age of children allowed to receive benefits in the foster care system from 18 to 21 years old and took effect on January 1, 2014. This was done on the behalf of the children trying to start a life apart from the foster care system that could use more support trying to garner their independence.

However, since that time it has been a struggle for those involved with the foster care system to ensure that the benefits of those between 18-21 are still being provided by the appropriate sources. The issue comes from a gray area of who should be providing these benefits, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities or the Department of Children and family.

An article from Health News Florida (http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/foster-care-fix-requested-disabled) illustrates the frustration of trying to provide for the children simply looking to start a life of their own.

“We want everyone, especially those in foster care, to get the services that they need, but also to have those nurturing families with them,” Barbara Palmer, director of the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities said. “We don’t want them to have to make a choice.”

This affects only those in extended foster care who currently receive services from the Agency for People with Disabilities. If you would like to fight for the rights of these young adults, or the rights of the thousands of other children in foster care, visit our website to find out how.