Local group to establish extended foster care citizenship award

Front row: Katina Summers, Immediate Past President of RWSC and sitting 1st VP of RWSC; Beth Billings, RWSC President; Kelly Daigrepont, RWSC Treasurer; Congressman Steve Scalise; Laura France, RWSC Corresponding Secretary and Terrie Matis Bourgeois, RWSC Member. Back row: St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewel and Cera Jewel.

The Republican Women of St. Charles Parish will host a spring fundraiser with the goal of raising money to establish a Citizenship Award for participants in Louisiana’s new Extended Foster Care Program.

“By highlighting Louisiana’s new Extended Foster Care program through a Citizenship Award, the Republican Women of St. Charles Parish hopes to assist those who participate to achieve their goals and perhaps help with the real world expenses that these brave young adults will encounter in their journey into adulthood,” RWSC President Beth Billings said.

Last year Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill extending foster care to age 21. All teenagers previously “aging out” of foster care at 18 years old may now opt into the extended program, but there are some eligibility requirements to participate.

Requirements for extended care include enrollment in a secondary education program or an equivalent credential, enrollment in an institution that provides vocational education participation in a program designed to promote employment or remove barriers to employment, employment of at least 80 hours per month or the existence of a medical condition that renders the young adult incapable of engaging in any of those activities.

According to the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services’ website, studies have found that youth who exit foster care at age 18 without any additional support typically experience poor outcomes at a higher rate than their peers in the general population, including reduced rates of completing high school, post-secondary or vocational programs and increased rates of homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, unemployment, early pregnancy and dependence on public assistance.

Youth Villages awarded Louisiana a $3 million grant to implement the Youth Villages YVLifeSet model, a program that uses highly-trained case workers with small caseloads to provide high-intensity services, including at least one face-to-face session with youth per week. Case workers work to help the youth achieve their education, employment, housing permanency and independent living skills.

RWSC will hold a Red Elephant Luncheon Fundraiser March 4, 2021 at the Destrehan Plantation Mule Barn from 10:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $30 each or $300 per table. Advance purchase of tickets is required. Funds will be raised through the sale of new and gently used consignment or boutique-worthy items that have been donated to the RWSC.

For more information or tickets, contact Sheilah DiJohn at 504-237-1890 or email at sdijohn@gmail.com.

More information about Louisiana’s Extended Foster Care Program, visit http://www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/page/647.


About Monique Roth 796 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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