U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Sunday, February 24, 2002
President Bush's budget for 2003 will include $60 million to help older foster children and young adults pay for college and vocational education so that they gain the skills they need to live independently, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced today.
One day after the President signed legislation authorizing the new help for older foster care children, Secretary Thompson said that the President's fiscal year budget will fully fund the initiative to provide education vouchers of up to $5,000 each year for foster children and young adults, ages 16 to 21, who "age out" of the foster care system. At least 12,000 foster children would receive these vouchers to pay for college tuition or vocational education, increasing their prospects of becoming self-sufficient and living independently.
"Foster children deserve every chance to get an education and start a career they will need to succeed later in life," Secretary Thompson said. "These vouchers would help more than 12,000 young adults across the country to receive the education that best meets their life goals.''
HHS' fiscal year 2003 budget will request $60 million to fund this initiative for the first time. Last year, President Bush proposed the initiative and signed legislation yesterday to authorize the program.
"Many states, including Wisconsin, have shown that educational assistance can help young people make the transition to independent life," Secretary Thompson said. "President Bush and I worked hard with Congress last year to get the program authorized at the federal level, and we will work even harder this year to make sure the money is available."
The initiative would expand the Independent Living Program within HHS' Administration for Children and Families. The program allows states to provide benefits and services to young adults who grew up in foster care and are making the transition to independent living.