Representatives McDermott (D-WA), Reichert (R-WA), Davis (D-IL), Reed (R-NY), and Doggett (D-TX) have introduced H.R. 5947, a bill “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include foster care transition youth as members of targeted groups for purposes of the work opportunity credit.”
The language of the bill has not been made available yet, but according to a draft of the bill, a new target group would be added called, “A qualified foster care transition youth.” This is defined as an individual under the age of 27 at the time of hire who had been in foster care after age 16. This target group would be eligible for the standard $2,400 credit.
Congressman Jim McDermott commented, “The outcomes for transition age foster youth in this country are heartbreaking: nearly half are unemployed at age 24; half will spend time in a homeless shelter; and 70% will be reliant on government assistance after emancipating from foster care. The federal government has both an economic and moral interest in improving this grim reality for foster youth. In 2008, Congress passed the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, which recognized the challenges faced by youth transitioning out of foster care by enabling them to continue to receive support services until they turn 21. In authoring that bill my goal was not to extend dependency on the foster care system, but rather to use the additional time spent in extended foster care to help these youth become independent. While extended foster care is providing a critical lifeline for thousands of youth across the country, more needs to be done to help these youth connect with career opportunities and attain self-sufficiency.”
Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) stated, “We care about our foster kids and want to give them every opportunity to reach their highest potential. This bill is part of that process. This proposal provides a simple adjustment that encourages businesses to hire these kids, which breaks a cycle of dependence, and often a lifetime of poverty. It’s only right that we do our part to stand with our foster kids as they mature into adulthood and enter the workforce. As a member of the Congressional Foster Care Caucus, we are proud to support this bill.”