Changes to the Foster System Considered

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MASON CITY, IA-There’s a push in Iowa to get legislators to re-consider some rules for foster children.

According to Radio Iowa, a national advocacy group wants to extend the age of a person in the foster program from 18 to 21.
Right now, foster kids are forced to leave their homes when they turn 18.

Mainly because of funding, but these advocates want public policy to start matching up with what is already happening all over the country.
Advocates for foster children have a request of law makers.

“I think it really has been a burden for many of our kids in the foster care system to have to automatically turn an adult at the age of 18 and your supposed to know everything,” said Vice President of Four Oaks, Bob Sheehan.

They hope by raising that age to 21…Those leaving the system will have a bigger and better chance in the real world.

“More of a transition, helping these kids save money, get them out, get an apartment or whatever else and so that way they are successful when they actually do go out on their own,” said Mental Health Counselor, Cody Williams.

But the fear is, those three extra years will cost tax payers, but those organizations that work closely with the kids believe that it will do just the opposite.

“You also have to look at the kick back later in life, these kids if they get more help or services they probably are going to rely less on state services,” said Williams.

They say if it takes a couple more years in a stable environment to keep more people out of jail and off the streets, it’s worth it.

“But it really sort of gives a foundation for kids to just sort of have those few more years to become successful,” said Sheehan.

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