A bill that would lop two years off the time that young adults in Florida’s foster care system may receive a state stipend will come before a House panel on Tuesday. The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will consider the measure (PCB HCAS 12-03), which would reduce funding for participants in the Road to Independence program by dropping their eligibility from age 23 to 21. The bill’s supporters say the state cannot afford to support young adults who are old enough to support themselves. Opponents include the members of Florida Youth SHINE, an advocacy group for young people in foster care or aging out of it. According to the group – which gathered 60 letters in opposition to the bill – they are much more at risk for homelessness and criminal activity than youth with families. Without the stipend, said FYS chair Jesse Wilson, “these kids are going to end up in other systems of government – homeless shelters or the criminal justice system.” According to the Independent Living Transitional Services Critical Checklist 2010, by the time Florida’s foster youth turn 17, 46 percent have failed their grade-level FCAT.

Share this article:


Related Posts

Alexia Nechayev

FYS Events & Meeting Chair
(Palm Beach)

Hello, My name is Alexia Nechayev. I am 25 years old and I am an alumna of Florida International University where I received my B.A. in Psychology. My future career goal is to be a Lawyer. I was in care for about one year from age 17 to 18. Prior to entering care, I only knew about the negative stigma regarding foster care and while in care that narrative was unfortunately my experience.

In school I felt like I was on display because my status in care was broadcast to other students and in my placement behavior was leveraged for “privileges” that should be a natural right of all children. Because I did not know my rights I did not know that what I was experiencing was wrong. Today this is exactly why I advocate, because I don’t want this to be the same for other youth who are experiencing foster care.

This is my second year on the FYS Statewide Board and I’m happy to be the Events and Meetings Chair this year because my main goal through advocacy is to reach as many people as possible. My favorite thing as a board member is to see how comfortable members become while working together. The community needs to know that youth in foster care are real people, going through some of the hardest moments of their life and youth need to know that their voice is powerful. I believe that we have to speak up and bring these issues to people’s attention so that they do not forget us. Advocacy, education and consistency is the only way.

Skip to content