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Robert Harris

Rauner budget cuts target older Illinois foster youth

Rauner budget cuts target older Illinois foster youth

The state became Annie Audenas' substitute parent in the mid-1990s after Illinois child welfare officials said they found evidence of neglect in her family and placed the infant in protective custody.

Audenas was adopted by age 3 but the arrangement soured during her rebellious teen years and she returned to state care. She attended five high schools and became a mother, all by the age of 16.

Despite the odds, Audenas is now a 20-year-old college student working toward a degree in human resource management while raising her daughter in Naperville and holding down a part-time job. She credits Illinois' long-standing practice of supporting older foster youth for a few extra...

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