More help for foster kids who "age out" of the system is on the way.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign a bill Monday that would provide support services, such as housing and career counseling, to foster children after their 18th birthday. Most of those kids are on their own under existing law.
The Ohio Senate passed House Bill 50 last month, so now the governor's signature is the last step. The law would make former foster children eligible for programs and additional financial assistance until they are 21.
The programs available to them include college and career counseling and help finding affordable apartments or on-campus housing. About 1,000 foster kids every year currently age out of the programs when they turn 18.
The Enquirer followed one of those foster kids, Nadia Goforth, for most of 2015 and published a story about her life and struggles during her senior year of high school.
Foster care advocates have pushed for the extension of benefits for years, citing statistics that show foster kids are significantly more likely to be unemployed, homeless and on public assistance well into adulthood.
"Some of Ohio's most vulnerable young people can celebrate the prospects of a brighter future," said Mark Mecum, chairman of Ohio Fostering Connections, an advocacy group.
The law could cost the state about $10 million a year, but Ohio would be eligible for federal aid that could defray some of that cost.