Florida extends age limit for foster care, thanks to Nancy Detert

June 29, 2013 

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House Speaker Will Weatherford, R- Wesley Chapel, is congratulated by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice at the Sine Die ceremony in Tallahassee at the end of the 2013 legislative session, May 3. SCOTT KEELER/Tampa Bay Times

KEELER, SCOTT — Tampa Bay Times

Foster care advocates and parents have long sought a change in Florida law that forced young adults out of the system upon their 18th birthday. At that age, teenagers are hardly equipped to carve out a living on their own.

Venice Republican Sen. Nancy Detert, a longtime supporter of the foster care system, won a major victory during this year’s legislative session — passage of the “Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act.”

This week, Gov. Rick Scott held a ceremonial signing of the bill with Detert in attendance.

Now, young adults can remain in the foster system until age 21 with ample opportunity to learn the life skills vital to begin realizing their dreams.

The law also requires the Department of Children and Families to craft a wide-ranging transition plan after a teen’s 17th birthday, providing an additional boost into adulthood.

Almost 1,300 young adults age out of the system annually, and the vast majority fail to complete high school. This new law provides a stronger safety net so they can accomplish higher goals.

Kudos to Sen. Detert

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