WA Legislature Awards $10.6M in Stipends for Youth Exiting Extended Foster Care

April 21, 2022
A group of smiling young people in a park setting.

The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) applauds legislators for funding $10.6 million in stipends for youth aging out of the agency’s Extended Foster Care (EFC) program.

“Foster care allies, foster care alumni, and legislative champions stepped forward to secure this funding to see youth through a challenging time in their lives,” said Steven Grilli, DCYF Assistant Secretary of Prevention and Client Services. “Foster youth leaving care often don’t have robust support networks, and the pandemic only added to this persistent challenge.”

DCYF’s EFC program provides the opportunity for young adults who are dependents of Washington State to continue receiving foster care services after their 18th birthday. Eligible youth may enter and exit the program as needed between the ages of 18-21 years old.

In partnership with Treehouse – a nonprofit that supports youth experiencing foster care to successfully transition to adulthood – DCYF will administer monthly stipends to young adults who:

  • Were impacted by the federal moratorium that prohibited discharging them from EFC due to age through Sept. 30, 2021.
  • Age out of extended foster care between Oct. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2023.

“This critical funding will help transition foster youth to successful adulthood by supporting housing stability and securing access to essential resources like food, transportation, utilities, and more,” Grilli said.

“Our survey showed that 85% of young people who aged out of foster care during the pandemic had housing needs, 76% were behind on bills, and 25% were unemployed,” said Dawn Rains, Treehouse Chief Policy and Strategy Officer. “This  timely, much-needed support will not only help alleviate the challenges they are facing, but it will also provide more time for better transition-to-adulthood strategies to be developed in the long term.”

Alongside partners at Treehouse, DCYF caseworkers and DCYF Adolescent Programs staff are reaching out to eligible youth about the stipends and will disburse payments this month.

Read the Treehouse FAQ to learn more.