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Youth Villages pushes bill that would expand pandemic aid for former foster youth

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 4:19 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In 2020, the state of Tennessee made $7.4 million of stimulus aid available for former foster care youth.

Non-profit Youth Villages assists young people with accessing those funds for emergent needs.

“I was able to help a young lady with some daycare assistance. A couple was couch surfing, and they have a one-year-old son and they needed help with daycare. I was able to contact the daycare, explain the contract between Youth Villages and the Department of Children’s Services, get them to agree to accept a check on the young lady’s behalf, and we submitted a check request to cover daycare for the next 10 weeks,” explained Heather Tribble, the LifeSet State Coordinator for Youth Villages.

Individual checks may be worth up to $1,200. So far, Youth Villages has helped a total of 275 young people across the state access the funds, totaling $350,000.

However, according to Youth Villages, funding was delayed and did not begin rolling out until July of this year. On September 30, the legislation changed, bringing the eligibility age down from 27 years old to 20 years old.

Youth Villages policy associates are pushing for H.R. 5651, a bill in the United States Congress that would provide additional emergency support for older foster youth.

“It is a very bipartisan policy area, which is great. So, there’s agreement there that something needs to be done, but sometimes the devil is in the details,” said Tony Parsons, a Youth Villages policy associate.

As they work with Congress to pass the bill, Youth Villages will continue to assist former foster youth 18 to 20 years old who have been impacted during the pandemic.

“As a former foster youth myself, this work is doubly as important to me because I know what it is like to be in a system that wants to do the right things and wants to help, and just sometimes doesn’t have the ability to do so. So, we are definitely pushing,” he said.

For more information on the Pandemic Aid for Former Tennessee Foster Youth, visit the Department of Children’s Services here.

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