Last Tuesday, October 26, 2021, Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN) introduced a new bill (HR 5661) to extend the temporary relief for youth exiting foster care. On Wednesday it passed the House by a fast-track voice vote.

The December 2020 Covid-19 relief package included flexibility in certain programmatic services for Chafee-eligible youth currently or formerly in foster care. It also included $400 million in funds for services and education vouchers, but the provisions ran until the end of FY 2021 which was September 30, 2021. The new bill extends everything until FY 2022, September 30, 2022.

Davis and Walorski issued a statement on the “Continued State Flexibility to Assist Older Foster Youth Act,”
“Foster youth continue to face substantial hardships due to the pandemic-related economic and health crises. I am proud to lead the Continued State Flexibility to Assist Older Foster Youth Act with Rep. Walorski to restore critical Chafee program flexibilities that improved the circumstances of tens of thousands of older foster youth and former foster youth. These flexibilities include using Chafee funds to help youth up to age 27: remain housed, continue to benefit from an enhanced John H. Chafee Educational and Training Vouchers Program, access other supportive services, and gain independence through driving programs. We know that the Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act helped so many young people during the emergency. Rep. Walorski and I remain committed to working together to provide the stability and certainty needed, and we hope that the Continued State Flexibility to Assist Older Foster Youth Act will be enacted so that we can keep helping youth during the pandemic. We welcome the earnest advocacy of current and former foster youth who continue to push for policies to help you remain safe.” –Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL).

The House vote was by fast-track suspension and it has now been received by the Senate. A companion bill is in the Senate, but the House bill would be the likely fastest route to approval.