Marshall Project and NPR on How Alaska OCS Stole Millions from Alaska Native Foster Kids
If you, like me, enjoy starting your day with the clarifying anger of a thousand white hot fires, may I recommend this article on how various state agencies rerouted foster children’s SSI benefits to pay for their own foster care–especially impacting Alaska Native children.
A few of those children are highlighted in this article:
The Marshall Project and NPR have found that in at least 36 states and Washington, D.C., state foster care agencies comb through their case files to find kids entitled to these benefits, then apply to Social Security to become each child’s financial representative, a process permitted by federal regulations. Once approved, the agencies take the money, almost always without notifying the children, their loved ones or lawyers.
At least 10 state foster care agencies hire for-profit companies to obtain millions of dollars in Social Security benefits intended for the most vulnerable children in their care each year, according to a review of hundreds of pages of contract documents. A private firm that Alaska used while Hunter was in state care referred to acquiring benefits from people with disabilities as “a major line of business” in company records.
Some states also take veterans’ benefits from children with a parent who died in the military, though this has become less common as casualties have declined since the Iraq War.
In Alaska, more than 250 current and former foster children — many of them Alaska Native — are part of the class-action lawsuit demanding that the state pay their Social Security money back.
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