Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and Erin Houchin (R-IN) introduced H.R. 7010, the Increasing Access to Foster Care Through 21 Act on January 17, 2024, ahead of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on supporting older youth in foster care. The bill would provide an incentive for all states to extend child welfare support and services for foster youth through age 21 by removing Title IV-E income eligibility requirements for youth ages 18-21. It would also allow young people the option to re-enter care and remove participation requirements for young people.

CWLA, along with Youth Villages, led an endorsement letter for the bill, which was signed by more than 100 organizations. From the letter: “With rising costs of living and fewer opportunities available, many young adults choose to live at home and rely on the support of their families well past high school as they seek education, employment, and stable housing; why do we expect their peers in foster care, many of whom exit without adequate supports from family and others, sufficient resources, or preparation, to become fully independent on their eighteenth birthday?… Federal data tells us that compared to youth who exit foster care at age 18, youth who remain in care have better outcomes across multiple measures, like higher rates of employment, housing, school attendance and graduation, and health coverage compared to those who exit care to independence at age 18. They also have lower rates of incarceration, drug treatment referrals, and giving birth or fathering a child. This important legislation would give more young people the option to remain in care, allowing them the opportunity to achieve such improved outcomes.”