CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would create foster care resources for children transitioning into adulthood from age 18 to 21. On Wednesday, the bill passed a senate subcommittee hearing.
The Carolina Youth Development Center, a nonprofit housing children in foster care, is advocating for this help. The nonprofit’s CEO Beverley Hardin said kids in foster care need support when they turn 18 to help them make it on their own.
“For a child growing up in foster care it’s just even harder, many of them have been through trauma,” Hardin said. “All of them have been separated from their families, all of them have been removed from their parents. Their brains functional differently, their support system functions differently.”
The Department of Social Services says the Extension Foster Care bill, if passed, will open the door for federal funding to support those transitioning into adulthood. The bill indicates being part of the Extended Foster Care Program is voluntary.
It can give those involved access to resources including help with college tuition, getting their GED, computers and transportation. It could also assist with rent and utilities, healthcare, mental health services and more.
CYDC provides transitional housing and resources in the Lowcountry and would like to see more support statewide.
“These kids are vibrant and they’re so wonderful, and they’re fun,” Hardin said. “They have so much energy. They have so much to offer. They just need help, and it’s a true joy to be part of their solution.”
Hardin thanks the General Assembly for considering this new law. However, she would also like to see the state expand the more to 23 or 25 as some other states have already done.