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Hawaii extending foster care help to age 21

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KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM
Former foster care youths Tiffany Tuilata and Noy Worachit testified before the House Finance Committee on Thursday in support of a bill that would allow children in foster care to remain in the system until they turn 21.

A new Hawaii program will allow former foster youth to voluntarily extend foster care until they turn 21.

The state Department of Human Service says its Imua Kakou program will provide extended foster board payments and housing opportunities. It will help youth get jobs and support their education.

The program is for young adults who turn 18 in foster care or youth who were adopted or placed in guardianship after the age of 16. The department is launching the program on Tuesday.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie says the state is sending a clear message it won’t abandon foster youth simply because they turn 18.

The department says recent studies show youth who exit foster care without any support are at a high risk of homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse and incarceration.

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