Foster children need special help at 18

By The American Press

What happens to foster children in Louisiana when they reach 18 and are on their own? Some have been lucky enough to attend college and prepare for a better future, but others are left to fend for themselves.

The state’s Senate Select Committee on Women and Families last week heard from some of those foster children who fell into both categories, according to a report in The Advocate. Unfortunately, a program aimed at helping all foster children who reach 18 called Louisiana’s Youth Adult Program hasn’t been funded since 2013.

Kayana Bradley, 20, is one of the lucky ones. She was in foster care from age 14 to 18 and is now a student at the University of New Orleans. However, when she turned 18 she had no one to co-sign for her to obtain housing until a volunteer offered to help.

Bradley said foster children often find themselves with nowhere to go and no resources to navigate the real world on their own. She mentioned no instruction on budgeting, banking and knowing where to go for help.

“It truly takes a village to raise a child,” she said.

Taylor Fletcher, 20, is now a student at LSU. He said two of his brothers have been shot and both are in jail.

“It’s so sad that every kid doesn’t end up as lucky as me,” Fletcher said.

Any hopes for future funding to help 18-year-olds leaving foster care were pretty much dashed when the House approved a proposed budget for fiscal year 2017-18. The state Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), which supervises the care for 8,000 foster children, is $19.5 million short of what Gov. John Bel Edwards said is needed to meet demands. The loss of federal matching dollars increases the reduction to about $70 million.

Finding homes for foster children continues to be a major problem, and the shortage of department staffers means each worker faces increasing workloads and fewer options. Those who are still there are driving state automobiles that have chalked up more than 150,000 miles.

The DCFS budget that was rewritten by the House requires state departments to eliminate vacant positions before making other reductions. However, that complicates the ability to replace staffers in a department with a high turnover rate.

You would think legislators would give a higher priority to a state department devoted to improving the lives of youngsters who haven’t been as fortunate as most children in this state.

SportsPlus

McNeese Sports

New-look Cowboys picked sixth

Local News

Harris praises Biden’s ‘unmatched’ legacy, looks to lock up the Democratic nomination

Business

Tellurian to be acquired by Woodside Energy Group in $900M all-cash payment

Crime

LSU cornerback arrested on accusation of video voyeurism, authorities say

Local News

Secret Service acknowledges denying some past requests by Trump’s campaign for tighter security

Local News

Biden wants to pass baton to Kamala Harris

Local News

BREAKING: Biden drops out of race

Local News

Secret Service chief noted ‘zero fail mission,’ facing calls to resign

Local News

Students explore possible careers in athletic training

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Constitution plan resurrected

high-school Sports

New concession stand added to plans for football stadium

life

Community rallies to support 3-year-old with brain tumor

Business

Jeff Davis School Board agrees to ITEP for solar facility project

Local News

Police Jury considers increases to grass ordinance fees

Local News

Qualifying ends, ballots set for November election

Local News

American Press winner of eight Louisiana Press Association awards

Local News

Allen Parish flood maps available for review

Local News

Ten Commandments won’t go in Louisiana classrooms until at least November as lawsuit plays out

Local News

Airlines, businesses hit by global technology disruption

McNeese Sports

Long road to McNeese

Business

Appeals court sends Commonwealth LNG decision back to FERC

Crime

Trooper arrested following off-duty DWI crash

life

Let’s Build A Robot: Allen middle school students learn to code, program at STEM/Robotics Camp

Crime

Police: Attempted rapist broke into woman’s apartment through bathroom window