Lady homeless after aging out of foster care supports others - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Lady homeless after aging out of foster care helps support others

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By: Sabrina Ahmed
SAhmed@klkntv.com 

When kids age out of the foster care system at 19, many of them don't know where to turn.  Some senators are trying to pass a bill that would help those kids be more successful.

"Aging out was... a life changing experience," Kristina DellaCroce said.

DellaCroce is twenty one with a child and a lot of responsibility.  But when she turned 19, too old to be a state ward, she didn't have a lot of places to turn.

She used state services provided, but in a short year, was kicked out of her apartment, leaving her and Tay homeless.

"The requirements are so high that a lot of kids lost it within the first year of having it," DellaCroce said.

DellaCrose isn't alone.  Many kids become homeless after leaving the system.  70 percent of boys end up in the judiciary system, 70 percent of girls end up pregnant by 21.

That's why State Senator Amanda McGill is making it her priority to change the way the system works.

"How to keep them on the right path and give them some guidance, some sense of family and continuity.  It could really make a difference in their lives," Sen. McGill said.

The bill that's in the legislature this session would extend benefits to kids until they were 21 and change the requirements.  It would provide a housing stipend.  Instead of mandating school, the former wards could also get a job.  The adolescents would also be able to decide after aging out that they want help, instead of being bogged down with paperwork the minute they lose support.

"That's one of the biggest problems we're seeing—kids are aging out, there's a lot of change in their lives and it's a chaotic time even if you come from a normal family—picking a college, or figuring out a major, a job and adult responsibility," Sen. McGill said.0

If Nebraska passes this law, it could be as much as 3.5 million dollars out of the state's pocket, but the federal government would then give as much as 7 million.

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