Nofs legislation assisting youths sent to governor

LANSING — Legislation to help improve outcomes for foster care and other at-risk youths by creating a voluntary program for young adults ages 18 to 21 is on its way to the governor, said sponsor Sen. Mike Nofs.

Senate Bills 435-440 would create the “Young Adult Voluntary Foster Care Act,” which would allow 18-year-olds to remain under certain state care until they turn 21. Nofs’ bill would amend the Guardianship Assistance Act to allow youths in the voluntary program to remain in guardianship until age 21.

“My bill is about giving young people the best chance to succeed in life. The optional program will connect these youths with a stable family or adult for three years during an important stage in their life,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “Increasing educational achievement and guidance for at-risk young adults is critical to creating better outcomes. The results are improved lives and reduced costs to taxpayers through less crime, substance abuse, pregnancy and reliance on state assistance programs.”

The federal Fostering Connections Act allows states to draw federal funding to support a voluntary foster care program for youths age 18-21 if the youths are either completing high school, enrolled in post-secondary or vocational school, participating in a program designed to remove barriers to employment, employed for at least 80 hours per month, or incapable of doing any of these activities due to a medical condition.

Senate Bills 435-440 have been sent to the governor to be signed into law.