Home > Policies > Child Welfare > Require a Portion of Federal Monetary Benefits be “Set Aside” for Foster Youth

ACTION ALERT:  To send a letter of support for SB 524/HB 1022 to legislators click here .


Currently, the Department of Human Resources (DHR) is applying for federal benefits (such as Social Security Survivor and Social Security Disability) for some foster youth, and then using that money to reimburse the State for the cost of the child’s out-of-home placement. Most foster youth who transition from being in foster care to living on their own do so with very few resources with very little money saved.

We need legislation to:

• Require that when DHR applies for federal benefits for older foster youth a portion of the benefits be placed into an account for when the foster child is an adult.
• Account for how much money DHR is receiving in benefits for each foster youth and what is being done with that money.
• Require that DHR notify the foster child and the foster child’s attorney when they apply for and receive the federal benefits.

February 11, 2015
SB 524/HB 575: “Family Law – Protecting the Resources of Children in State Custody”
Senator Raskin is sponsoring SB 524 in the Senate and Delegate Valentino-Smith is sponsoring the House crossfile. The Senate co-sponsors include Senators Benson, Brochin, Guzzone, Kagan, Kelley, King, Madaleno, Manno, McFadden, Montgomery, and Rosapepe. The House co-sponsors include Delegates Anderson, Clippinger, Gaines, Hornberger, A. Miller, Moon, Rosenberg, Smith, Vaughn, and C. Wilson.

To access SB 524/HB 575’s page on Maryland’s General Assembly website, click here.

The bill hearing for SB 524 will be held at 1 pm on Wednesday, February 18th in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

The bill hearing for HB 575 will be held at 1 pm on Thursday, March 5th in the House Judiciary Committee.

February 13, 2015
ACTION REQUIRED:
If you want to help older foster youth keep a portion of their federal benefits, click here to email your legislators and urge them to support SB 524/HB 1022.

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February 18, 2015
There was strong support for SB 524 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee at today’s bill hearing. Even DHR, who is supporting SB 524 with Amendments, indicated strong support for the principles behind SB 524. To read testimony, click here.  To view related infographic, click here.

February 25, 2015
At 10 pm tonight, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted UNANIMOUSLY to issue a Favorable report with Amendments on SB 524!

March 3, 2015
SB 524 passed Second Reading on the Senate Floor this morning. One more step on the Senate floor, and then it will be moving onto the House.

The House crossfile, HB 575, has its hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, March 5th at 1 pm.

March 4, 2015
The Baltimore Sun published an Op-Ed by Dan Hatcher explaining why this legislation is needed to protect foster youth’s assets.

March 13, 2015
Although the actual hearing date for HB 575 was the very snowy March 5th, we had a number of witnesses in the House Judiciary Committee testifying in support of the bill today. The witnesses included Melissa Rock, representing Advocates for Children and Youth and The Coalition to Protect Maryland’s Children, Ingrid Lofgren, from the Homeless Persons Representation Project, Joan Little, from the Legal Aid Bureau, who was invited to testify by Delegate Valentino-Smith, Dan Hatcher, a law professor at the University of Baltimore who has written extensively about protecting foster youth’s federal benefits, and Mitch Mirviss, the attorney for the certified class of Baltimore City foster youth in the long-standing federal class action lawsuit, L.J. v. Dallas.

March 17, 2015
The House Judiciary Committee issued an Unfavorable report on HB 575 today. We gained a lot of traction with these bills this year, and are hopeful that we will build on the successes and try again next year. We are especially grateful to the lead sponsors of these bills, Senator Raskin and Delegate Valentino-Smith, and all of our partners who put in a tremendous amount of energy and effort on these bills this year.