iFoster Announces Employer Tax Bill for Foster Youth

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The Improved Employment Outcomes For Foster Youth Act H.R.2060 amends the Internal Revenue Code to include transition age foster youth as categorically eligible for purposes of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). Employers may be eligible to receive a credit of up to $2,400 annually for each foster youth hired.

iFoster (http://www.ifoster.org) announced today that the Improved Employment Outcomes For Foster Youth Act H.R.2060 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Dave Reichert (R-WA), Danny Davis (D-IL), and Tom Reed (R-NY)). A Senate companion bill S.885 was also introduced by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include transition age foster youth as categorically eligible for purposes of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). Employers may be eligible to receive a credit of up to $2,400 annually for each foster youth hired.

“We are so grateful to Congressmen Reichert, Davis, and Reed, and Senator Casey for supporting our collective efforts to provide life-changing job opportunities for foster youth” said Serita Cox, iFoster’s Executive Director. “In its 20 month pilot period, the iFoster Jobs Program has trained and matched over 250 transition age foster youth to well-paying jobs with employment partners in pilot states. This employer tax credit is an important incentive to help provide jobs to many more transition age foster youth to help them become successful independent adults.”

“We cannot eliminate all of the challenges faced by youth in foster care, but we can give them opportunities to help overcome those challenges,” said Rep. Reichert. “Helping youth find jobs and rewarding them when they do is a great way to help them become independent and give them hope for the future. Like all of our children, our youth in foster care deserve to have the opportunity to follow their dreams, and our bill gives them the independence to do just that.”
“A good job is a path to the middle class,” said Senator Casey. “This legislation offers practical incentives to employers that work to support those who have already overcome so much. By strengthening foster youth’s employment opportunities, we are making an investment in the next generation of workers.”

The iFoster Jobs Program is a public / private partnership that matches employer partners with entry-level positions to foster youth who are specifically trained, appropriately resourced, and effectively supported to succeed in their jobs. iFoster currently works with 20 large employers with thousands of entry-level career opportunities. iFoster and its training partners assist foster youth by providing job skills training, necessary concrete resources, job coaching, scholarships / tuition reimbursement opportunities, and first-in-line access to jobs with career advancement potential. iFoster helps employers by providing a pipeline of pre-qualified potential hires that helps reduce the cost and time associated with hiring and employee turnover. The program is working effectively, with over 250 youth hired in the pilot period and 90% retention rate after 6 months on the job compared to a 30% average industry retention rate. The iFoster Jobs Program will grow substantially, expanding to new areas and new employer partners.

“Stable employment is one of the most important opportunities we can give to transition age foster youth” said Yali Lincroft, Program Director for the Walter S. Johnson Foundation. “This legislation is a testimonial to successful public / private partnerships, and has the potential to help thousands of youth aging out of the foster care system achieve independence.”

Speaking to the food retail industry’s support of this legislation, Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO, Food Marketing Institute, said “We simply can’t afford to leave anyone behind or any resource untapped. Too many miss amazing opportunities simply because we can’t find a way to get our foot in the door or aren't being guided to the right door to stick our foot in. The grocery industry feels a responsibility to not only offer that open door, but to seek out that next generation of leaders, whoever they may be.”

For information on the iFoster Jobs Program or how to utilize this tax credit, please contact Deb Cromer at 530.550.8001 or deb(at)ifoster(dot)org.

About iFoster

Children in foster and kinship care need the same resources and opportunities for success as young people being raised by biological parents. Tragically, foster youth receive on average less than 50% of what the USDA says is the average cost of raising a child.
iFoster is a national non-profit that bridges the gap between youth in the child welfare system and the external corporations, foundations and government agencies who have the resources to help them succeed. iFoster has built the largest and most inclusive online community of young people and organizations in foster care with currently over 40,000 members in all 50 states. On behalf of the community, iFoster negotiates and collaborates with hundreds of partners who can provide the basic resources, supports and opportunities that foster youth need to become successful adults.
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Reid Cox
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