Aging out of foster care: Lawmaker working to change system

WSYX - 11-17 11pm maria-foster care

While many teens are excited to turn 18, many in Ohio's foster care system are not. They know once they turn 18, they could be kicked out of their foster care home with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Makkedah Cutshall was one of those teams. When she turned 18, she had to leave the foster care home that she loved.

"I loved how big the family was. But I understood, she had 6 kids of her own, " she says.

So when Makkedah left the home she had nowhere to go. "I was couch surfing, my clothes were everywhere, my stuff was everywhere."

Sadly, Mekkedah's story is like so many others. Aged out of the foster care system and finding themselves with nowhere to go. According to Ohio Fostering Connections, each year 1100 teens age out of the foster care system here in Ohio. Within two years 36 percent have been incarcerated and 26 percent are homeless.

State representative Dorothy Pelanda wants to change that. "We as Ohioans need to look at these children as our own, " she says.

Pelanda is cosponsoring HouseBill 50, a bill designed to help foster care kids until they turn 21.

"The purpose of this bill is to provide mentoring, job training and housing for those 1100 children who wish to enter this three year program, " she says.

The bill is up for a full vote in the house right now.

Makkedah is 19 now. She knows the bill won't be able to help her, but says it can help other teens so they don't have to face the struggles she's had to endure.

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