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Foster care benefits extended for teenage Iowans

Iowa has been able to send pandemic relief payments to over 1,300 people in the foster care system since May. Another 1,000 will receive money in the next 30 days.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Each year, thousands of children age out of the foster care system.

In Iowa, once you turn 18 years old, you are considered an adult and no longer in foster care. Those individuals received extended benefits from the federal government due to the COVID pandemic. 

The Foster Care Moratorium was, originally, ending Oct. 1, 2021. A new federal law extended the moratorium until Sept. 30, 2022.

“I receive calls almost daily. They want to find out when they can receive a payment," explained Doug Wolfe, the foster care program manager for the Iowa Department of Human Services.

The state has been able to send pandemic relief payments to over 1,300 people in the system since May. Another 1,000 will receive money in the next 30 days.

“We made payments of $750 to youth who had left foster care around the age of 18," Wolfe said. "The extended support for children who have aged out of foster care is going to allow us to provide another $500 payment."

A total of $4.7 million in pandemic relief funds was granted to the state. Plus, an additional $600,000 for the extension. This is to pay, specifically, for college tuition and housing.

Andrew Allan, the president and CEO of YSS, partners with DHS to help individuals in the foster system.

“At 17 years of age, I became a ward of the state and a part of the state's foster care system so that I could get treatment," Allan said. "It ended up being lifesaving treatment through YSS.”

YSS is a partner Wolfe has helped connect with individuals benefiting from the payments. 

“I received a call, yesterday, from a young woman. She wasn’t able to go to work because of a positive COVID test. They were behind on rent. They weren’t able to make their car payment," Wolfe said. "When she found out she was going to receive a payment, she was overjoyed and brought to tears knowing that someone is there to help her.”

“If we give them the tools and resources they need to be successful, there’s no doubt that they too will be leading nonprofit organizations and be contributing to society that creates real impact," Allan added.

For more information on the pandemic relief payments for foster youth and young adults, click/tap here.

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