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Aging Out of Foster Care

Children age-out of foster care at age 18 or when they graduate from high school, whichever happens first. This event is referred to as emancipation. Some maintain a continuing relationship with their foster families while others do not. Many face a difficult future when state and federal funding ends, and housing, food, and medical care stops.

The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP), Title I of the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, provides funds to states to assist youth and young adults (up to age 21) in the foster care component of the child welfare system make a smoother, more successful transition to adulthood. This recent program replaces and expands the Social Security Act and allows states to use these funds for a broader array of services to youth “aging out” of the foster care system, including room and board. Most importantly, the Chafee program enables states to expand the scope and improve the quality of educational, vocational, practical, and emotional supports in their programs for adolescents in foster care and for young adults who have recently left foster care.

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