Gov. Gregoire has signed the Fostering Connections to Success Act, a bill sponsored by Rep. Mary Helen Roberts (D-Lynnwood). It bolsters the state’s efforts to help foster children complete their education after they turn 18 by providing safe housing and support services.
Roberts says it’s nearly impossible for them to successfully support themselves and finish their education without a safe place to live.
“Once they turn 18, they often fall through the cracks – no longer a ward of the state, but not yet an adult able to care for themselves. The number of children we send out of the system without a plan to set them on solid ground is heartbreaking,” Roberts said.
According to the Washington State Institute of Public Policy, only 34 percent of foster children graduate high school on time and are much more likely to become an early parent, homeless, incarcerated or dependent on public assistance.
The bill allows the state to use federal funding to provide safe housing for any foster child enrolled in a post-secondary or vocational training program until they turn 21.