It was a bill everyone thought was dead in the water, but squeaked through in the last hour of the legislative session.

The bill aims to help foster kids transition into adulthood. For foster child Mykell Daniels, turning 18 was a scary concept.

I wasn't sure if I was going to stay with my foster family, if I was just going to be alone, and not know what to do, said Daniels.

But now she'll have more options, because of the last bill to pass in the legislative session. The extended foster care bill was resurrected in those final hours.

One of them said in all my years here, I can never remember a ways and means committee meeting hours before sine die, said Jim Theofelis, executive director of the Mockingbird Society.

Theofelis says the bill extends foster care to age 21 for young people working more than 80 hours a month -- instead of cutting them off from public assistance at 18.

They ensure now that a youngster aging out of foster care at age 18 does not have to make a choice between a full time job and safe housing, said Theofelis.

Foster kids will qualify for the program if they're 18 years old, in high school or college, in a job training program, or if they work 80-plus hours a month. A study found that extending foster care delays early parenting, and prevents homelessness, and criminal behavior.

Daniels is in the process of applying for two part-time jobs and no longer worries about limiting her work hours.

My options are endless really, because I can do whatever I need to do, said Daniels. If I want to work, and go to school or if I just want to work.

She now feels like she has the time and support to figure out what she wants to do, now that she's living on her own.

Read or Share this story: