By ANITA HOFSCHNEIDER
HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaii House Committee on Human Services has approved a bill to create a new foster care program for young adults, extending the state's foster services to cover people up to age 21.
Testimony about the bill this week was overwhelmingly positive. Advocates say that extending foster care services decreases the risk of homelessness and substance abuse while increasing the likelihood of education and employment.
Judith Wilhoite from Family Programs Hawaii says that if the bill passes, Hawaii would be the 16th U.S. state to extend foster care to age 21.
Both the House and the Senate approved different versions of the bill last week.
Committee Chairwoman Mele Carroll amended the Senate version Thursday to align its text with the House proposal. The bill now goes to the judiciary committee.