WA to Make it Easier for Young Adults in Foster Care to Receive Assistance

June 6, 2024
a diverse group of teens crowded around smiling at the camera

Foster youth turning 18 will now receive services through the age of 21 thanks to a new law that went into effect on June 6, which eliminates requirements, allowing for more youth to receive critical assistance regardless of their future plans.

Foster youth who agree to continue in Extended Foster Care (EFC) will be eligible for services such as care placement, supervised independent living, medical, continued case management by DCYF, referrals to community resources, and a monthly financial subsidy, under Senate Bill 5908.

Previously, youth were required to be enrolled in high school or a high school equivalency program, post-secondary academic or vocational program, work 80 hours per month or be medically exempt, to participate in the program.

“This change in criteria widens the availability and provides a broader safety net and financial support for youth as they work through the numerous life choices and experiences that all young adults encounter as they determine their life path,” said Natalie Green, DCYF's Assistant Secretary of Child Welfare. “This is especially important for youth documented as disadvantaged and overly represented due to racial disproportionality/disparities in the child welfare system.”

More than 650 young adults are currently receiving services through EFC, a number that is likely to increase because of these recent changes. Programs like EFC are known to prevent justice system involvement, food insecurity, houselessness, and more.

EFC began in 2007 and was referred to as Foster Care to 21. It initially began as a pilot program that served 50 youth with a requirement that they be enrolled in post-secondary education. Since then, the program has supported thousands in successfully transitioning out of the child welfare system and into adulthood.

To learn more, visit the EFC webpage.