Approval for Program to Help Former State Wards Transition into Adulthood

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Federal authorities have approved Nebraska's new program that's aimed at helping former state wards transition to adulthood.

It's called Bridge to Independence, and on Oct. 20 it's expected to begin helping former foster children who have aged out of state custody at 19. State legislation passed in 2013 and 2014 authorized the program, but funding approval by the federal government was necessary before it could begin. Since Jan. 1, 51 former wards aged out of the system, and 41 more will age out by the end of the year.

Caseworkers called "independence coordinators" will meet with the former wards monthly and help them make life choices. Those participating in the program could receive monthly stipends to assist with living costs such as housing, education and other expenses.