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New Maryland Law That Dignifies Foster Youth

Adopted family packing for vacation

May has been designated as National Foster Care Month since 1988. National Foster Care Month brings attention to the needs of children in the foster care system. It also acknowledges the professionals, community members, parents, families, and organizations dedicated to the safety and well-being of children in foster care and finding them a permanent home. There are more than 391,000 children in the foster care system in the United States and about 4,000 in the state of Maryland.  

This year’s theme, as established by The Children’s Bureau, is “Engaging Youth. Building Supports. Strengthening Opportunities.” The campaign aims to cultivate support for young people, particularly as they transition from foster care into adulthood. According to The Children’s Bureau, nearly 20,000 children age out of foster care without a permanent home. Research shows that 1 in 3 former foster youths experience homelessness between ages 17-21.  

There are several federal programs that provide grants, resources, and financial assistance for older foster youths to establish their independence. The Biden Administration’s 2024 budget proposal allocates $10 billion dollars over the next 10 years toward creating and maintaining federal programs to address foster youth homelessness.   

In Maryland, Governor Moore recently signed a new law that bans the use of trash bags for the belongings of foster children. This law is meant to affirm the dignity of youths in foster care and ensure that they feel valued. The new law requires the Department of Human Services to provide new luggage to every child in the foster care system.  

Here at Williams, McClernan, and Stack, our attorneys have extensive experience in representing children who have been in the foster care system. We take pride in using our practice to promote the wellness and advocacy of children. If you have any concerns about a child’s wellbeing, feel free to contact us and schedule a consultation.    

Check out episode 11 of our podcast, All The Legal Ladies, where we talk about our experience representing children in the the court system.


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