COLUMBUS (WCMH) — On Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine made a big announcement regarding foster care, saying due to the pandemic, all kids in the foster system will continue to be supported by the state after turning 18.
Usually, that is when young adults age-out of the system, and during the next three months, that would’ve been more than 200 kids losing access to foster services.
Instead, places like Buckeye Ranch are able to hang onto those young adults a little longer and keep preparing them for their next steps.
Kim Miller, the vice president of programs and strategy at Buckeye Ranch, said it’s a relief to not have to release these young people into such an uncertain world.
“We don’t have to discharge them to homelessness or not having a job and not being completely set up,” she explained. “And so we are going to continue to work to make sure they are successful so when they finally discharge from our care and programs at the Buckeye Ranch that they have a chance to be able to be successful in life.”
Miller said this is a group of young adults who are very vulnerable and already have statistics going against them with regards to homelessness, teen pregnancy, and incarceration – and that’s during normal times.
“The odds are stacked up against them without a pandemic and with a pandemic, you know, we don’t want to see those numbers climb at all,” she said. “I think having to discharge during a pandemic when a lot of people are losing jobs and losing housing, you know, the odds are already against them and I feel like we have more time now to be able to work with them and to set them up for success.”
DeWine also said on Friday that this relief would include the Bridges Program, which is Ohio’s foster care for those up to 21 years old.