Forum held on extending foster care age in Ohio

WLWT reports that a public forum on extending the foster care age in Ohio was held on Wednesday, July 30 at the United Way's Cincinnati headquarters. The forum, entitled "Ohio, Fostering Connections” was the second in a series of five taking place across the state where legislators and individuals from community agencies who work with at-risk juveniles come together to discuss this issue. The Cincinnati forum focused on the difficult transition out of foster care for children when they turn eighteen and featured statements from former foster children and the director of Hamilton County Job and Family Services, Moira Weir.

Advocates of this change assert that it will improve outcomes for children as they age out, resulting in better numbers of high school graduates, more enrollment in college and fewer incidences of homelessness. Representatives in the Ohio House introduced a bill regarding this issue in January 2014. House Bill 423 would amend the Ohio Revised Code to extend the foster care age from 18 to 21. The Ohio Legislative Service Commission has provided analysis of this bill. Per WLWT, the bill's supporters hope that it will pass the Ohio legislature this year and be implemented by 2016.