On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) unveiled the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, the next major coronavirus relief bill. The legislation provisions related to former foster youth and other vulnerable youth populations includes the following emergency assistance:
• $50 million for the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program;
• $18 million for Education and Training Vouchers (ETV);
• Elimination on the age limits for Chafee-funded services;
• Suspends work and education requirements for the Education and Training Voucher program;
• Gives HHS the authority to waive the 30 percent cap on housing spending under Chafee; and
• Waives the extended foster care educational and employment requirements.
In addition, CWLA has joined a group of organizations with a particular interest in supporting older youth urging Congress to act swiftly to provide crucial supports to older youth resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic requesting a $500 million increase in Chafee funding, extension of the age of eligibility for Chafee Aftercare Services to Age 23 for all youth, suspension of participation requirements for young people in extended foster care, a moratorium on discharges from the foster care system for youth ages 18-21, and allowance for states to draw down Title IV-E funds until a young person reaches age 22. To sign your organization on to the letter, click here.
The juvenile justice provisions include $75 million for state and local government grants to ensure the safety of youth (and staff) involved in juvenile delinquency. It also encourages the release of youth to their parents/guardians and discourages the use of fees and fines during the crisis.
Additional provisions for youth and young adults include expansion of YouthBuild activities for eligible individuals over 25 years of age and expands enrollment for 2 years for YouthBuild participating.