Child advocates, Nebraska lawmakers discuss state services for youths

Oct 25, 2012

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Child advocates are asking Nebraska lawmakers to extend state services to youths who are pushed out of foster care because of age limits.

The public advocacy group Nebraska Appleseed urged lawmakers Thursday to extend the cutoff age for support services to 21. State law currently ends benefits when youths turn 19.

Nebraska already offers a program for former wards, but a growing number have been denied in recent years.

The former ward program offers a monthly stipend and Medicaid coverage for young people who are pursuing a college degree. Child advocates say a new federal law allows states to qualify for federal matching dollars if they extend the age limit, and imposes fewer restrictions.

Lawmakers convened a hearing as part of a study requested by Lincoln Sen. Amanda McGill.

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