SB 5405 moves out of the Legislature!
Great news! This afternoon the Senate voted unanimously to concur on Extended Foster Care (SB 5405), meaning it is now out of the legislature and on its way to the Governor's Office where it will await his signature!
This process has been anything but easy, but this legislation is where it is today because strong support from our legislative champions, our compelling youth testimony, an incredibly successful Youth Advocacy Day, as well as each and every call and email to legislators. In other words, you helped make this happen!
Next up is the Governor's signature, Please take a moment to contact Governor Inslee at 360-902-4111 and urge him to sign E2SSB 5405 – Extended Foster Care as soon as possible!
Today's news is very exciting, but our work isn't finished until the ink dries on the Governor's signature! One call is all it takes!
Here's a quick recap of what the final bill will do:
Scope: This legislation we are now celebrating allows youth with barriers to employment to participate in the Extended Foster Care program. Currently, youth pursuing their secondary or post-secondary education may enroll. It is estimated that adding this new population will allow approximately 70% of the remaining youth aging out of care to be eligible for the program.
Reentry: This bill allows youth to leave the foster care system at age 18 and return and enter the EFC program before their 19th birthday. Previously youth only had six-months after turning 18 to enroll.
Budget: The Senate budget included $3.080 million for EFC and the House budget includes $3.5 million. This was a major win because this is the first time that new money has been dedicated to Extended Foster Care. Throughout our recent economic struggles, we worked with policy-makers to find creative and effective ways to re-allocate currently existing funds in order to create and expand EFC without eliminating or interrupting services for youth. This is one of the big reasons we were able to create and expand and entitlement program during times of steep budget cuts. What is significant about SB 5405, is that the legislature has recognized the value and the need for this effective program, and both chambers have dedicated new funding to ensure that youth who need it most have access to safe housing after turning 18.
This is another exciting step towards achieving our legacy goal: to ensure that all youth aging out of care have access to the safe housing they need to succeed.
Thank you again for your continuing support!