Driving through Richmond yesterday, I learned how their government has made big strides this year in supporting foster care “transitions-to-independence”. Richmond, Virginia, that is. (You didn’t think I meant Richmond, BC did you)? Yes, Virginia. That Southern State. Although Canadians and British Columbian's like to think of ourselves as ahead of the US in how we invest in kids and families, most US State governments are taking much more assertive leadership for young people who are aging out of foster care.
Thanks to youth advocacy, research and community partnerships, this March, Virginia found bi-partisan support to pass Fostering Futures legislation, which includes commitments for youth from foster care to receive supports that include:
- housing(!), monthly casework support, and access to counsel.
- a full continuum of housing options for youth, everything from foster family homes to independent apartments, depending on the needs of the youth.
- eligible youth may enter and re-enter Fostering Futures at any point during ages 18-21.
Their work here is not done, but they should be congratulated for making such great progress! Maybe soon, youth aging out of foster care in our Richmond, and communities across BC, will see our government see value in increasing investments in their success as adults.
Read more from Virginia’s recent work: http://www.vakids.org/our-news/blog/fostering-futures-has-a-bright-future-of-its-own