Home > Policies > Child Welfare > Help older foster youth put their federal benefits into savings for when they transition to adulthood

Currently, the Department of Human Resources (DHR) applies for federal benefits, such as Social Security Survivor and Social Security Disability Insurance, on behalf of foster youth. If that youth qualifies for the benefits, DHR keeps that money to reimburse the State for the cost of youth’s out-of-home placement. Current law allows this practice, so we’re trying to change the law.

We are working to pass legislation that requires:

(1) notice be given to the youth and their attorneys;

(2) the following amounts of the benefits be conserved for foster youth:

(a) for 17 year olds: 40%;

(b) for 18-20 year olds: 100%.

For more information, click here to read our one-pager.

January 22, 2016

We are Senate Bill 262! Many thanks to our lead sponsor, Senator Jamie Raskin, and our co-sponsors– Senator Benson, Senator Brochin, Senator Currie, Senator Guzzone, Senator Hough, Senator Kelley, Senator King, Senator Lee, Senator Madaleno, Senator Manno, Senator Muse, Senator Ramirez, Senator Ready, Senator Rosapepe, Senator Salling, Senator Young, and Senator Zirkin. Click here to access the bill.

In the House, our bill is House Bill 772! We are grateful to our lead sponsor, Delegate David Moon, and our co-sponsors– Delegate Afzali, Delegate Anderson, Delegate
Bromwell, Delegate Carter, Delegate Glass, Delegate Gutierrez, Delegate Hettleman, Delegate Lierman, Delegate Luedtke, Delegate Oaks, Delegate Sanchez, Delegate M. Washington, and Delegate C. Wilson.

Senate Bill 262 will be heard on Thursday, February 18th at 1 pm in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

February 19, 2016

We had a great hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee (JPR) last night. We are very grateful to Senator Raskin for his leadership on this bill since it was first introduced 2 years ago and to all of  JPR for their commitment to ensuring foster youth leaving care are adequately prepared for independence. The hearing included compelling testimony from Debbie Ramelmeier, Director of Child Welfare Policy at the Citizens Review Board for Children, Dan Hatcher and Manti Bean, from the University of Baltimore School of Law, Amy Harfeld, National Policy Director of the Children’s Advocacy Institute, Joan Little, Chief Attorney in the Child Advocacy Unit at Maryland Legal Aid, Mitch Mirviss, counsel for Baltimore City’s foster youth in the LJ v. Malhotra class action lawsuit, Ingrid Lofgren, Director of Homeless Youth Initiative at the Homeless Persons Representation Project, Dominique Marsalek, Chair of Maryland’s Foster Care Alumni Network, Danielle Jennings, former foster youth, and Melissa Rock, Child Welfare Director at Advocates for Children and Youth and Chair of the Coalition to Protect Maryland’s Children. Support for SB 262 also included written testimony from all of the above witnesses as well as The Franklin Law Group, P.C., the Job Opportunities Task Force, the Maryland Alliance for the Poor, the Maryland Disability Law Center, the Public Justice Center, and Welfare Advocates. We are hopeful that JPR will issue a favorable report on SB 262 and allow older foster youth to have their federal benefits placed into savings to help ease their transition out of foster care.

House Bill 772 will be heard on Thursday, March 3rd at 1 pm in the House Judiciary Committee.