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For immediate release: July 25, 2023
Contact: press@ocfs.ny.gov
Email: press@ocfs.ny.gov
Phone: 5184023130

New York State Office of Children and Family Services Announces Cash Awards for Eligible Foster Care Youth


One-Time Awards Ranging from $500 to $2,000 Now Available for Young Adults Transitioning Out of Foster Care
 
Application Portal is Open Until Sept. 1, 2024, or Until All Funds are Allocated
 
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) today announced that the application portal is open for eligible youth aged 18-22 who have recently or are about to age out of foster care to receive direct cash awards ranging from $500 up to $2,000. The assistance is part of the federally funded Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood, which is designed to help current and former youth in foster care achieve self-sufficiency.
 
“The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a pivotal one for young people as it can shape significant pathways for the next phase in their life’s journey,” said OCFS Acting Commissioner Suzanne Miles-Gustave. “All youth need the proper supports to take this next step, especially those leaving the foster care system seeking to establish their independence without the financial resources that may be provided by a permanent family. OCFS is committed to building a safety net for these vulnerable young people, and the Chafee direct cash assistance awards are a pivotal part of this support system.”
 
The Chafee program provides funding to states for a wide range of resources and services that help older youth and young adults successfully transition from foster care. OCFS is distributing approximately $1.1 million in funding directly to youth through the cash awards. OCFS distributes the bulk of the New York State funding – about $10.5 million for the 2023 federal fiscal year – to local departments of social services, which then offer youth assistance with everything from completing high school diplomas to life skills training, including how to find a job, rent an apartment, cook for themselves and budget.
 
“Making this funding available to youth and young adults formerly in foster care could make a world of difference in keeping them housed, fed, educated and employed,” said Nina Aledort, OCFS deputy commissioner for Youth Development and Partnerships for Success. “We are proud to provide this funding as part of our work to improve outcomes for youth aging out of foster care. We trust young people to know what they need and to use this funding as needed to achieve their goals.”
 
The online portal to apply for the cash awards is open, and the awards will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until Sept. 1, 2024, or until all funds are allocated. To be eligible, youth must meet one of the following criteria:
 
  • Aged 21-22 and discharged from foster care at age 18 or older; can receive a $2,000 cash award.
  • Aged 21-22 and currently in foster care; can receive a $2,000 cash award.
  • Aged 18-20 and discharged from foster care at age 18 or older; can receive a $500 cash award.
 
The direct cash assistance was initially funded with Chafee Pandemic Funds from the Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, which also allowed states to expand services to foster youth up to age 23. The program has been so successful in assisting youth transitioning out of foster care that New York State decided to continue the direct cash awards using general Chafee funds.
 
Youth are only eligible to receive a direct cash award once. Those who are currently 21-22 years old should apply as soon as possible because they will no longer be eligible when they turn 23.
 

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