Sen. Louis P. DiPalma’s (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) legislation (2018-S 2022) that would create a young adult voluntary extension of care program to extend the age of foster care from age 18 to age 21 was heard by the Senate Committee on Judiciary last night.  The program would offer a range of programs and services to ensure successful transitions to independence and adulthood for young adults in foster care.

“This bill gives our kids in foster care the best possible shot to become happy, functional, and productive adults in our society because the data clearly demonstrates that without this program, these kids face tremendous obstacles toward adulthood.  These children deserve a fair shot in life.  They did not ask for the hardships they have suffered during childhood, and this program can provide the safety net so many of them desperately need,” said Senator DiPalma.

Rhode Island previously offered extended care to foster children up to 21 years old but the program was scaled back to 18 years old in 2007.

The legislation calls for a voluntary, age appropriate, court-supervised program of services and resources to be implemented and the proposal is specifically designed for young adults to maximize their self-determination and support their movement toward self-sufficiency.  The bill does not hold young adults in the same system that they were in as children, but incorporates national best practice to meet their needs as emerging young adults.

Twenty-four states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Nebraska, Ohio, and California have extended their systems of care to 21 with similar initiatives.

Rep. Deborah L. Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown) has introduced the legislation (2018-H 7110) in the House of Representatives.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.