Human resources

New Resources Available for Foster Youth in Mississippi; New Adoption Opportunities and Tuition Waivers

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – This is a day of celebration to expand new opportunities and provide different resources for young people in the state’s foster care system.

Traditionally, we focus a lot on what happens while the children are in foster care. But what about after or once they approach the point of “aging”?

Bertie Bryant feels a sense of pride watching Governor Tate Reeves enact Bill 1313.

“Everyone will have the chance to go to college,” Bryant said. “They won’t have to worry about whether they’ll get the money or not.”

Bryant was in foster care for 14 years and was among the young people who helped pass this new law. Yet she will have passed the age to be able to reap the benefits.

“I think it could have been different because I had a three-year-old when I left custody,” she said. “I could have had an education while in care with her…I could have had a full education that I still don’t have now.”

The law allocates $1 million in scholarships so current and former foster children can go to college for free. Andrandella Lawyer will also not qualify, but is excited to help the next generation of adoptive children.

“It was wonderful, because I just believe the struggles that I had, I wouldn’t want them for the kids younger than me or the kids coming up behind me,” she confessed. “So I feel like it’s a wonderful opportunity for them because it opens a lot of doors for them.”

The scholarships will be available for young people under the age of 25 from the 2023-2024 school year. They must have been in custody on or after their 13th birthday.

Meanwhile, more of the older adoptive youngsters may soon find forever homes.

“We are responsible for the children who are in the custody of the state, and we must do the best job possible to be a good caretaker for them,” said Andrea Sanders, commissioner of the Department of Child Protective Services of the State. Mississippi. “But I’ve told the governor before, and I’ve told my staff, that state agencies will always be a poor substitute for family.”

The Dave Thomas Foundation is investing $1.7 million in the effort to connect foster children across the state with adoptive homes through their Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program.

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