The Act supports provision of health insurance to former foster children, up to the age of 21, by way of states using Medicaid funds. It permits such youths to have assets up to $10,000 with compromising their assistance. It expands funds for these 18-to-21-year-olds to benefit from Independent living programs from $70 million to $140 million, and broadens what these monies can be applied to.
First Lady of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton was instrumental in passage of the bill, first holding on youth conference on the issues involved and then lobbying Congress in support of legislation. It followed in the wake of her support for the earlier Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, which made it easier to adopt foster children; now the Foster Care Independence Act was intended to ease the transition into adulthood of foster children who did not get adopted.