Older foster kids benefit from state budget

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 6:39 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Growing up, Cheyenne Miller could not wait to turn 18 so she could get out of the foster child system.

"I was adamant, I'm done," said Miller.

Now, she can’t wait to be a foster child for another three years.

“This could work for me,” said Miller, who turns 18 next month.

She and about 200 other foster children will continue to be covered by the foster system until they’re 21, thanks to a provision of the recently signed state budget.

Under the program, the state will cover living expenses for foster children after the age of 18 as long as they are taking steps to further their education.

“It was close to not being part of the budget,” said Leah Stajduhar, DSHS Office Chief of Programs and Policy.

Stajduhar said foster children deserve extra support after the age of 18.

“They’re not the ones that caused the abuse or neglect,” said Stajduhar. “This is us being able to support them through this.”

Miller is a student at Centralia College. She wants to be a social worker to help decide who should be allowed to be foster parents.

She told KING 5 without the additional assistance she did not think she’d be able to continue her college career.

“I just want to be able to make a difference,” said Miller. “You need credentials to make a difference.”

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