December 22, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117
Congress Includes Chafee Program in Stimulus
Funding Provides Targeted Relief for Foster Youth
OKLAHOMA CITY – A top federal priority of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) was included as part of the stimulus package approved by Congress this week. The economic stimulus plan included targeted relief for children in the states’ child welfare systems.
The plan included $400 million in federal funds for the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. OICA was one of several child advocacy organizations that adopted the #UpChafee hashtag to encourage Congress to fund the program.
“This is a big win for foster children and our advocates who have fought so hard for its passage,” said Joe Dorman, OICA’s chief executive officer. “Here in Oklahoma, we had a champion for the program in Congressman Markwayne Mullin of the Second Congressional District. We are very grateful for his leadership on this issue.”
In addition to the $400 million in Chafee funding, components of the bill relating to the Chafee program would:
- Let youth remain in or re-enter foster care up to age 22;
- Waives the work and school requirements for extending foster care;
- Expand Chafee eligibility up to age 27
- Increases education and training vouchers from $5,000 to $12,000 per person per year;
- Clarifies that the education and training vouchers can be used to maintain education and training costs, as well as to help foster youth drive; and
- Removes the 30 percent Chafee housing cost cap.
“The Chafee program is a lifeline for current and former foster care youth,” Dorman concluded. “The most crucial goal for foster youth is for them to transition into happy and productive adult lives. The Chafee program provides critical support for that. This measure will help foster youth overcome the additional challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are very grateful Congress agreed and voted to #UpChafee.”