Teens, young adults in foster system eligible for grants

Published 1:10 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2021

(AP) — Mississippi teenagers and young adults who have spent time in the
foster care system are now eligible for federal grants worth thousands of dollars to help pay for
school, a car or other expenses.

The money is part of $3.3 million allocated to Mississippi through federal COVID-19 pandemic
assistance funds. Any Mississippi resident between the ages of 14 to 26 years old who has spent
at least one day in foster care after his or her 14th birthday can receive money, according to the
Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services.

Individuals can receive grants for up to $12,000 for education tuition, room and board and up
to $4,000 for transportation-related needs, like buying a car or getting a driver's license. Money
can also be spent on utility bills, groceries, technology purchases and medical expenses not
already covered by health insurance or Medicaid.

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The money will be distributed through the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services.
The almost 1,000 young people currently in Mississippi’s foster care system or those who have
recently left will automatically receive some stipend. However, that does not preclude them
from applying for additional aid, according to the state.

The funds are part of a $400 million package distributed to states nationally through the
Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act approved by Congress earlier
in 2021.

In announcing the funds, federal Children’s Bureau officials said that the grants are meant to
provide needed support to the many young people leaving