Any Mississippi youth aged 14 to 26 years old who has spent at least one day in foster care after their 14th birthday is eligible for federal COVID Pandemic Assistance Funds available now through the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services.
Foster youth and former foster youth in Mississippi can receive funds to help with housing, education, transportation, utility bills, groceries and other emergency assistance needs. Youth can receive up to $12,000 in federal money for education/tuition/room & board expenses and up to $4,000 in transportation assistance including help in buying a car or getting a driver’s license. Money is also available for technology purchases.
• Emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Applying online.
• Website for more info: www.mdcps.ms.govMississippi’s $3.3 million share of the federal pandemic relief funds is part of a $400 million national appropriation in the “Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act” approved by Congress earlier in 2021. In announcing the funds, the federal Children’s Bureau said the money will address the “critical ﬁnancial needs of youth and young adults who are or were formerly in foster care.”
• Driving and Transportation Assistance – including help in purchasing an automobile
• Living expenses – including rent, groceries, utilities
• Technology – including cell phones, tablets, laptops and internet service
• Medical expenses not already covered by other health insurance or Medicaid
• Education – including tuition, books, room/board and other school-related costs
The Act also allows former foster youth (up to 22 years old) who are no longer in state custody to choose to re-enter foster care. Also, current foster youth do not have to leave foster care once they reach a certain age, under the Act’s time-limited provisions. Youth do not have to be in foster care to receive the pandemic financial assistance, however.
• $1,200 – for youth ages 16 and up, currently in foster care in Mississippi
• $1,200 – for youth up to age 26 who aged out of foster care in Mississippi since January 2020
“Funding under this program can be used as an opportunity to support young people’s resilience and to create opportunities for economic, social and educational success,” said Marcus Davenport, MDCPS director of permanency.