State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz recently introduced a plan to make sure youth who age out of Michigan’s foster care system have the resources they need to build successful lives.
About 58% of young people exiting foster care age out of the system without a stable, permanent family relationship or they are emancipated, according to data from Kids Count in Michigan. Very few receive needed transition support services like employment, education, and housing.
“As kids in foster care grow up and leave the system, they’re often stepping into the real world with empty pockets and just a few possessions,” Schmaltz said. “Foster youth really should have more support to help them bridge the gap so they can go on to lead successful, independent lives.”
When a child is in the Michigan foster care system, any federal benefits the child receives are collected by the state and used to reimburse the state for the cost of care. This includes income such as Veterans Administration benefits, Supplemental Security Income, and Social Security benefits.
Schmaltz’s plan, House Bill 4694, will set aside a portion of these federal benefits for the child’s future needs, or for specialized services not provided by the state. For children aged 14 and 15, at least 40% of these benefits must be set aside; children aged 16 and 17 would have at least 80% set aside; and foster youth aged 18 to 20 would have 100% set aside.
The measure also provides children in foster care with financial literacy training and ensures they are notified about all the federal benefits the state applies for and collects on their behalf.
“Many of the kids aging out of foster care are resilient young people who can go on to lead successful lives if they are given support, guidance, and the right opportunities,” Schmaltz said. “My plan will help set them up for success.”
House Bill 4694 has been referred to the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee for consideration.
State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz today called for action to address systemic problems within Michigan’s child welfare system after the attorney general charged two Lansing area couples with abusing dozens of children placed in their care through the state’s foster system. Far too often, the state fails to detect abusive situations and Child Protective Services inadequately […]
State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz recently voted to provide additional funding to help struggling local law enforcement agencies keep their communities safe. Schmaltz, R-Jackson, said the proposal will ensure the new resources are used to strengthen support for police departments and sheriff’s offices amid widespread officer shortages. “Behind every badge is a commitment to safeguarding lives […]
State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz today announced the Jackson County Department of Transportation will receive a state grant to resurface a portion of Airport Road near I-94 in Blackman Charter Township. The $375,000 grant from the state Transportation Economic Development Fund will help fund work on Airport Road from I-94 north to County Farm Road. The […]
State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz today invited residents to sit down and chat during her November office hours in Jackson and Washtenaw counties. Local office hours are an opportunity for community members to meet face-to-face with Schmaltz to share their thoughts, questions, or concerns. No appointments are necessary to attend. Next month, Schmaltz will be available […]