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Florida State Helping Out Foster Youth After They Leave The System

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File photo of kids playing. (Credit:  ANA AREVALO/AFP/GettyImages)

File photo of kids playing. (Credit: ANA AREVALO/AFP/GettyImages)

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — State child welfare officials are overhauling a program that helps teens as they age out of foster care.

Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins on Wednesday appointed 12 people to the newly reassembled Independent Living Services Advisory Council.

The state gives foster kids a stipend when they leave foster care to help them transition into adulthood. Those expenditures have grown by more than 70 percent since 2007, but positive outcomes have not increased dramatically.

About 6,000 youths are receiving services including case management, budgeting and employment assistance.

DCF is also seeking legislative changes to require mentors for these youth, increase their job opportunities and provide more accountability for the program’s spending.

DCF recently surveyed more than 1,800 former foster youth. Only 4 percent had a full-time job.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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