Improving the Economic Security_Page_01We’re pleased to share with you the second in a series of upcoming SPARC policy briefs. The brief, entitled “Improving the Economic Security of Children in Foster Care and Young People who are Transitioning from Foster Care,” authored by consultant Shawn Fremstad, focuses on ways that advocates can work with government agencies and urge them to streamline enrollment to public benefits and services for eligible foster children and youth who have aged out of care.

Children in foster care and youth who transitioned from foster care are often eligible for public benefits and services that can increase their economic security, meet their health care needs, and help them do better in school.

But eligible kids and the adults in their lives may not know or have incorrect eligibility information. Complex application processes may also limit access to benefits and services. Even when foster children get the benefits they need, bureaucratic processes can detract from more important activities, including school and employment. Foster children can also lose benefits unnecessarily when, as is common, their placements or other life circumstances change.                      

This brief discusses ways that advocates can help foster children and youth who aged out of foster care access critical public benefits including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the School Lunch Program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Though not the only available benefits, improving access to these initiatives offers real potential to improve children’s lives.