Missouri senators pass bill to let kids rejoin foster care - KCTV5

Missouri senators pass bill to let kids rejoin foster care

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

When children leave the nest, they usually have a safety net to fall back on - mom and dad.  But for those in Missouri's foster system, they often have no one.

A proposed Senate bill would allow children who chose to leave the foster care system at 18 to return and stay until they're 21.

It is a measure that is receiving a lot of support from family services organizations.

Mia Beeks has spent 12 years of her life in foster care.

"It was good because they treated us like we was part of their family ... vacations, Christmas ... so it was good," Beeks said.

Beeks is now 21 and has aged out of the system, but the transition to adulthood has not been an easy one.

"You have to pay bills and manage money and find your way to work, so it's really hard," she said.

But many teenagers in foster care don't know that and they end up choosing leaving the system at 18.

Brandy Bamberger with Cornerstones of Care, a support system for foster families understand that choice, she says differs from a regular teen just wanting to get out of the house.

"I think for youth in foster care they have more of an intense feeling because they want to get out of the system. And once their released there is no safety net for them," Bamberger said.

That is what Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, had in mind when she wrote Senate Bill 208, which if passed into law would allow those teens to return to the foster care system and provide much needed support through counseling, education and financial assistance.

"This is just an opportunity for those who made that decision that they were ready for the real world, but weren't ready yet," Justus said.

Beeks now fully understands.

"You got to have that support to be out in the world because it is hard," she said.

Beeks is now working fulltime and studying to be a teacher.

As for support, she is getting a lot of it from Cornerstones of Care which assists foster care children even after they age out of the system.

Right now, there's no word on when the Missouri House will vote on Senate Bill 208.

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