On Tuesday, the Ohio House passed a bill in a 91-2 vote that wishes to extend the age for people to continue receiving foster care services from 18 to 21.
People who receive the extension are required to either continue with their schooling or maintain a job.
According to an analysis by Ohio’s Legislative Service Commission, education entails high school, college or vocational coursework and having a job requires the person to complete 80 or more hours per month.
Passing the bill would keep more than 1,000 people from aging out of the system, preventing them from becoming potentially homeless or unemployed as soon as they become a legal adult. As of right now, the bill awaits approval from the Senate.
Sophomore public relations major Keri Richmond represented Kent State this past summer when she presented to Congress to advocate for more foster care rights. Richmond wrote a policy report through her internship with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman as well as recommendations on how to improve the system, including her own experience with it.
Her report focused on making extracurricular activities more easily accessible through government funding. By investing in foster youth early, her idea is that government will save in costs, such as welfare, when those in the system age out.
The Stater supports the passing of this bill, as it would give people in foster care more time to complete their education or put away money for the future. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a permanent home to go to, and if people who age out of the system are expected to provide for themselves, they need enough time to prepare to do so.
The above editorial is a consensus opinion of The Kent Stater editorial board, whose names are listed above.