Announces Employer Tax Bill for Foster Youth
iFoster is excited to announce the introduction of the Improved Employment Outcomes for Foster Youth (IEOFY) Act, Bill #HR5947. On Sept 7, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash) advanced iFoster's agenda of helping foster youth gain permanent employment by introducing in the U.S. House of Represnetatives the IEOFY Act, which would provide federal tax credits for private employers who hire current and former transition-age foster youth from 16 to 26 years old, inclusive. The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Reichert (R-Wash), Rep. Doggett (D-Texas), Rep. Davis (D-IL), and Rep. Reed (R-NY). Senator Casey (D-PA) will be introducing a companion bill in the Senate.
Creating employer incentives is key to growing employment opportunities for our most vulnerable youth. In an environment where the minimum wage is rising, tax credits up to $2,400 per eligible employee will make it more attractive to hire TAY in a range of positions across the country. When passed, this credit will enlist private employers as allies in improving outcomes for these youth while reducing their reliance on public benefits.
“The outcomes for transition age foster youth in
this country are heartbreaking: nearly half are unemployed at age 24; half will
spend time in a homeless shelter; and 70% will be reliant on government
assistance after emancipating from foster care.
The federal government has both an economic and moral interest in
improving this grim reality for foster youth. In 2008, Congress passed the
Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, which recognized
the challenges faced by youth transitioning out of foster care by enabling them
to continue to receive support services until they turn 21. In authoring that bill my goal was not to
extend dependency on the foster care system, but rather to use the additional
time spent in extended foster care to help these youth become independent. While extended foster care is providing a
critical lifeline for thousands of youth across the country, more needs to be
done to help these youth connect with career opportunities and attain
self-sufficiency.” Congressman Jim McDermott (D-Wash)
“We care about our foster kids and want to give
them every opportunity to reach their highest potential. This bill is part of that
process. This proposal provides a simple adjustment that encourages businesses
to hire these kids, which breaks a cycle of dependence, and often a lifetime of
poverty. It’s only right that we do our part to stand with our foster kids as
they mature into adulthood and enter the workforce. As a member of the
Congressional Foster Care Caucus, we are proud to support this bill.” Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY)
1 Laptop per Foster Youth Coalition
iFoster has provided over 8,000 laptops nationwide to in college and college-bound foster youth. In California, iFoster has provided over 4,000 laptops and with the help of Professor Jeremy Goldbach from USC have conducted the largest study ever on the digital divide in foster care.
iFoster's 1 Laptop program has revealed that less than 5% of rural foster youth, and less than 21% of urban foster youth in California have access to computers - compared to 90% of all U.S. teens.
When provided with a laptop of their own, foster youth reported significant improvements in academic performance, better connection with their biological family and their support network, improved self-esteem and reduced depression and suicidality. (download report here)
Why do laptops matter?
Listen to what our Foster Youth attending College without one have to say.