30 Aug Under New Law: Abused and Neglected Kids Gains Access to Higher Education
Abused and Neglected Kids Gain Access to Higher Education Under New Law
CHICAGO– Today, Governor Rauner signed HB 5122, a bipartisan bill that grants access to higher education for abused and neglected kids in Illinois. The new law means youth in care and former youth in care who graduated from high school will have tuition and fees that exceed the amounts paid to the applicant under the federal Pell Grant Program or the State’s Monetary Award Program waived at Illinois community college or public universities.
“This is a great step for Illinois to take to give youth in care the tools we need to live independent, full lives as adults,” said James McIntyre, President of The Foster Care Alumni of America-Illinois Chapter. “The state has 1,000 college age active cases for youth in care and many of them worry that they will not be able to attend college due to the cost. This new law will give them access to higher education that will help them achieve their full potential.”
The bill received strong bipartisan support in both chambers and was a top legislative priority for the Foster Care Alumni of America-Illinois Chapter (FCAA-IL) and the National Association of Social Workers-Illinois Chapter (NASW-IL.)
“Youth in care frequently lack financial stability in their lives that would allow them to qualify for loans, and they lack a family who can step in to assist with the high costs of college tuition, said Kyle Hillman, a spokesperson for NASW-IL. “Youth in care deserve the support of the state; afterall, youth in care are all of our kids.”
“Youth in care get told that we are not worth it throughout our childhoods,” concluded McIntyre. “Today, Illinois is telling us we deserve to be supported in our educational dreams.”
About Foster Care Alumni of America: Founded and led by alumni of care in 2004, FCAA empowers former foster youth of all ages to build a supportive community and use our collective voice for change. Our mission is to connect alumni to transform policy and practice, ensuring opportunity for people in and from foster care.