Philadelphia — Today the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) is announcing an increase in the payment amount for its Pandemic Cash Assistance Program. The new and higher $800 payment will support current and former foster youth and young adults.

DHS will provide the payment via gift card to eligible applicants. Eligibility, which has also expanded, includes:

  • Applicants ages 18 through 22 who are/were in foster care at the age of 14 years or older.
  • Applicants ages 23 through 26 who were in foster care at the age of 14 years or older. Please note that the Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act provides temporary flexibilities in federal programs and significantly increased funding for this population — but only until September 30, 2021.
  • Parenting youth ages 14 through 22 and who are/were in foster care at the age of 14 years or older.

“The pandemic has negatively impacted us all, but youth who have experienced the child welfare system need immediate help,” said Laura Morris, Operations Director for the CWO Prevention at DHS. “We’re thrilled we can provide a financial boost to those who need it the most.”

Individuals can complete an online survey to apply. The $600 differential is available to those who received an initial $200 payment prior to August 16, 2021. The program is first come, first served.

A representative from Valley Youth House or Turning Points for Children will contact eligible applicants within 72 business hours. They’ll work with applicants to schedule their gift card pick up. They can also connect youth and young adults with other critical resources.

This benefit is a result of the Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act, signed into federal law on December 27, 2020 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act. It 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. Philadelphia’s former payment rate and eligibility criteria can be found here.