Foster Kids Eligible for New Grants
There were two main areas of American life that were all but ignored during the Coronavirus pandemic: The homeless and the foster care system. Each has its own struggles; and while one might think that foster care is a step up, because youths and teens have a roof over their head, there is no end to the stories of abuse these young people face. Even still, American media, billion-dollar organizations, and the government under two separate administrations have been entirely silent about the plight of America's foster kids, until a few months ago. It was announced that the states of Mississippi will be offering grants up to $12,000 for teens and young adults who are in the foster care system, due to a Congressional federal provision signed some months ago.
Though before people get the mistaken idea that this is a Biden Administration initiative; it's not. It's actually a bill that was signed into law nearly half a year ago now, with the money just now being released. Congress signed the “Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act” provision, which set aside some CARES money specifically for foster kids. Though states are just now getting their hands on the money.
Mississippi is making these pandemic assistance funds available to foster kids and young adults, ages 14 through 26, and they can apply individually for grants that can range from $4,000 to $12,000, depending on the needs of the individual.
While this money is from federal funds, states pretty much have carte blanche in how it's spent. Mississippi has decided to address the issue of existing and former foster kids, whose lives were made exceedingly more difficult by the Covid pandemic.
Of course, on paper, there are stipulations for the grant money. Though, to be clear, almost all grant money has stipulations, and it's basically hit or miss if those stipulations are adhered to. For foster teens, it is stipulated that this money is to be spent on education, room and board, transportation, and other necessities.
For foster teens who apply, the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services will be overseeing this grant program and will decide who qualifies and how one receives the money. What's so special about this program is that it's not just any old grant. There are currently around 1,000 teenagers in the Mississippi foster care system, and more who have recently left over the past few years. All of these people will receive a stipend of a few thousand dollars, and this stipend will not hurt anyone's odds of also receiving the grant if it's needed.
Covid Restrictions Also Bring New Precedents
Of course, for must of America's history in grants, it's been the accepted form of business, so to speak, that one must be 18 years of age at a minimum, an adult, in order to receive a grant. This has never actually been enshrined in any sort of law; it's more of less a colloquial, unwritten rule, where most companies and organizations seek to give money those able to handle it. This means nonprofits and other organizations, large businesses, and perhaps even parents/homeowners getting grants, but never minors.
While lockdowns and other regulations sparked by Covid may have shut down a lot of avenues, it has also opened up a few more. Minors in the foster care system being able to receive grants is a big deal for them. When kids and young adults leave these systems, they're usually far behind the curve compared to Americans of any other demographic. They have trouble paying for school, getting an apartment or a car, and even getting starter credit to build up their ratings. If Covid taught us anything in America it's that existing troubles compounded and unique struggles, like foster care kids, just got exponentially worse.
It's hard to say if this will become a trend. After all, this is coming from the government, not any private organization, and to date we can find no other information on any organizations handing out grants to foster kids. While there are many charities available for these at-risk youth, most of it is by way of care centers and not potential payments of $12,000 in cash.
We can only hope now that the young adults who receive these grants will spend this money wisely, on things they need, and not a bunch of material items. This is always a concern when the government hands money out, but even more so a concern when 14 and 19 year old teenagers are getting the money.
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