June 11, 2016

Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland initiative leader discusses foster care age extension legislation

More than 1,000 Ohio foster youths exit foster care each year after their 18th birthdays, with many quickly falling into poverty and homelessness, early parenthood or legal trouble. That recently changed when Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law in June that extended foster-care eligibility to age 21, adding Ohio to the growing number of states that have decided teens shouldn't automatically age out of the system when they turn 18.

Foster care advocates, including Kate Lodge, project director at A Place 4 Me, say the new legislation is a big win for foster children who were aging out of the system at 18. The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland is a lead partner of A Place 4 Me, which is an initiative that coordinates the planning and implementation of local efforts to improve outcomes for youth who have high risks for homelessness and are in transition from leaving the child welfare system or other systems.

Lodge recently joined the Sound of Ideas program on 90.3 WCPN and other foster care advocates to discuss the foster care age extension, the rationale behind it and how the change might impact teen homelessness. Listen to the program here.

As part of its strategic work in ending homelessness, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland turned its attention in 2012 toward efforts to prevent and end homelessness among youth. In particular, emphasis was placed on preventing young people who age out of the foster care system from becoming homeless. In 2013, the foundation brokered a partnership with the national Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to help young people in foster care make successful transitions to adulthood. The foundation’s local work—named by youth A Place 4 Me—is focused on creating a comprehensive community plan to prevent and end youth homelessness with a special focus on youth who age out of foster care.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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