PhiladelphiaThe Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act, signed into federal law on December 27, 2020 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, sets aside significant emergency relief for young people who were recently in the child welfare system, or are about to leave the child welfare system. The federal provisions extend child welfare services to all youth through September 30, 2021.

Through this legislation, the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) is able to provide re-entry into the child welfare system for youth who aged out of DHS during the pandemic; and allow youth currently in DHS foster care who otherwise would have aged out to stay until September 30, 2021. Benefits are also available for youth who were previously in DHS care but do not want to re-enter care. The services that are available include access to services such as housing, mental health, food, school supplies and tuition, and employment.

This new legislation bolsters the efforts already put in place by DHS to ensure youth are not discharged at age 21 unless requested by the youth; and that after discharge from the child welfare system, youth are connected to housing, medical, behavioral health, employment, education, and childcare for parenting youth.

Kimberly Ali, DHS Commissioner said, “The pandemic created additional hardships for many youth who had been in the child welfare system, including job loss, education disruptions, and problems paying rent. We’re excited to be able to provide a lifeline of benefits to youth and young adults through the emergency relief legislation.”

Eligible Philadelphia youth should know the following:

To re-enter the foster care system, contact DHS Resumption Liaison at or 215-574-9194 OR call the DHS Hotline at 215-683-6100.

To remain in the foster care system, contact your Community Umbrella Agency Case Manager, DHS Social Worker, or Child Advocate.

To receive older youth services (for youth who were formerly in care), please call the Achieving Independence Center (AIC),  215-574-9194, Monday – Friday 9am-5pm. The AIC is operated by Valley Youth House.

For more information on services for older youth, please read our blog