Turning 18, moving out and heading to college is hard with a support system. Imagine doing it alone. That's what nearly 20,000 children nationwide in foster care face each year.
But now a new law signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will help to change the fate of many kids in care in Tennessee. With the stroke of a pen, Governor Haslam gave children in Tennessee foster care a better chance as they transition into adulthood. Of the 8,000 children in foster care, 60% are teenagers.
"813 last year aged out of the system at 18. Be on their own at 18. This bill will allow us to extend benefits until they are 21. That extra 3 years to prep for adult life can be critical," Governor Haslam said.
Child welfare experts applaud the governor's stand, looking at the investment into education will help deter homelessness, dropout rates and teen pregnancy.
"Additional cost to the state is around $1.7 million," Governor Haslam said, "A really wise investment, cutting the cost, but also doing the right thing."
In Alabama, children can stay in care until they are 21, as long as they stay in school.
Our Kids To Love foundation scholarship program is investing in the lives of more than 300 local foster scholars.