Bill to extend foster care eligibility to age 21 introduced in Ohio House

A bill to extend the age of eligibility for foster care has been introduced in the Ohio House. The bill would allow minors to receive foster care services up until age 21, preventing children from aging-out of the system at 18, which is the current limit for services. WCPO reports that advocates for the bill assert that an early age-out of the foster care system increases the risk of homelessness, unemployment and dependence on public assistance. The bill comes after a series of forums held over the summer and fall considering extending the foster care age in Ohio. We discussed this in August.

The bill also establishes a ward’s bill of rights and provides that probate courts must furnish a guide to guardians that includes that information. This language was part of a bill that died last December when an anti-abortion group opposed terms in the bill of rights relating to a ward’s right to “privacy of the body” and to procreate. These terms are absent from the current version of the bill.