July 30, 2014

Services to foster youth would be extended under bill (AUDIO)

Sarah Helvey of Nebraska Appleseed speaks at news conference. Amanda Huxoll and Mickey Alder are to her left.

Sarah Helvey of Nebraska Appleseed speaks at news conference. Amanda Huxoll and Mickey Alder are to her left.

Foster children could continue to receive state aid even after turning 19 under a bill working its way through the legislature.

Under the bill, eligible youth could sign a voluntary agreement with the state to receive limited services through age 21. Foster care ends after 18 currently.

Former foster child Mickey Alder of Lincoln says aging out of the system can be a real shock.

“I believe the biggest obstacle that I faced was having someone there to actually guide me through things, to able to show me how to set up car insurance, what would I do if there was an accident, having someone in my corner to go and ask questions to be able to guide me to make sure I’m making the correct goals in my life,” Alder tells reports at a Capitol news conference.

LB 216 would allow a former foster youth to sign an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services to receive limited services through age 21. The agreement would allow Medicaid coverage to be extended. Housing assistance would be available. Limited management services would be offered.

Supporters say the cost to the state would be minimal, since the federal government would provide subsidies. Cost is projected to be $3 million annually at first, with the cost increasing to $6 million by 2017.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]