New York Smooths Path for Young Adults to Re-enter Foster Care

Originally published in The Imprint on December 16, 2020.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a law Tuesday making it easier for former foster youth who have not yet turned 21 to re-enter the city’s care, which can include housing assistance and monthly stipends to cover their basic needs. 

Previously, youth seeking re-entry to foster care had to file a court motion and get it granted by a judge, a process that has been complicated by pandemic-related court closures and case backlogs. Effective immediately, they can make the request directly to the local social services commissioner. For the duration of the public health emergency, the new law also suspends requirements that young people work or attend school in order to receive assistance.

Though New York offers extended foster care services up to age 21, each year hundreds of young adults sign themselves out after turning 18, often tired of years of meeting with caseworkers and eager to live life on their own terms. But with pandemic-related job losses disproportionately affecting the youngest workers, many former foster youth are finding they can no longer support themselves and have no family to fall back on for housing or financial support.

To learn more about Senator Montgomery's legislation and to read the full story, visit