Archive for April, 2014


New Book Out

Following on the heels of the first book. I’ve put together the first of the Sixtoe stories, it is no longer tucked away on odd bits of notes or in my imagination.

SixToecvrpub

Is now up over at Smashword, and just like the first book I’ve set up a coupon for it.

Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: US68T
Expires: May 14, 2014

The coupon won’t work at Amazon, so my apologies to the international community. However as with the first book, if you have Amazon Prime you can barrow a copy for free. Once the Amazon link is available I’ll add it.

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We have an odd bit of a gap in our rules as a society. In most states , but not all {New Jersey gets murky for example}, we tell our young People that once they turn 18 they are adults. As young adults we tell them that they are legally responsible for their actions. That should they run a fowl of the law we will try them as adults. Additionally in most states we tell parents that they are no longer required to provide child support for young adults once they turn 18.

We tell them that at 17 and 1/2 years of age to get a drivers license {varies from state to state} they must follow the restriction placed on teens, but at 18 and 0 days they may get the unrestricted adult license. We allow our 18 year old young adults to marry whom they choose without parental input, yet at 17 and 364 days of age if a young adult wished to marry they would need parental consent and counseling programs before getting the marriage license. What change is there in that one day, besides the fact that the young adult in question is now chronologically and biologically 18 years of age? None, there is no magic switch in the brain that alters their thinking, if anything their brains are still not fully developed and won’t be until they are 25 years of age, or at least that’s what scientists and the medical community have told us.

We tell them that even though they might still be in high school that if they are foster youth or wards of the state, that they are no longer supported** by the foster system or state. This has led to the homelessness of many former foster youth and other state wards as they were turned out of foster and/or group homes in which they had been living because of lack of funding. On the flip side of that, most school districts tell these same young adults that while enrolled in high school their parents or guardians have to sign off on their absences unless a special form has been filled out, signed, and returned to the school. Yet another conflict within the schools is if a young adult chooses to drop one school and sign up for another school without parent or guardian consent, they are allowed to because we have deemed 18+ to be legally an adult.

We tell them that they may sign contracts and may sign up for the military without the signature of their parents or legal guardians. We tell them that they may receive credit cards and loans. Many banks used to actively run sign-up campaign’s on college campuses to increase their card holder numbers.

Yet, we have medical insurance programs that tell young people, including married young adults, that if one or both parties are bellow the age of 21 they must look to their individual parents for medical support. Even when the young married couple lives out on their own in their own home and at least one of them works full time.

State and federal programs are not necessarily any better. At ages 18 to 21, should a young adult still live at home with their parents, but not able to be carried on their parents medical because

• The parent/guardians medical was through a state/federal aid program
• The young adult is not a student, even now with ACA in place some insurers still require the young adult to be a student
• The young adult is employed, but has no medical through their job, and files their own taxes and is not a dependent of their parents/guardians
• Young adult is self employed and if they were 21 or older would have no problems signing up for medical through ACA

The exception to the above is if the young adult is 18 or up and pregnant, or in the military. Even that isn’t guaranteed anymore as exampled by state federal laws that require 18 year old single parents to live with their parents to receive aid, and the experience of at least one soldier discovered when he tried to get a hotel room for a night.

The examples listed above are examples that I have either witnessed or heard about, that others are experiencing. There are probably more, examples of how we have an odd gap in our laws concerning medical insurance out there, and I welcome readers to share their experiences in the comments. Please note comments are monitored.

The second way we fail our young adults and send them conflicting messages, is through college funding.

Should a young adult live on their own and work with a steady income, unless they are above the age of 25*, they must have their parents tax information and income information when filling out FAFSA and other college financial aid forms. It doesn’t matter if the young adult has been on their own for at least two or more years and fully independent, most college financial aid offices will require the parents information. Except for in the following cases

• The young adult in question was a ward of the state
• An orphan, but not necessarily a ward of the state
• 18 or older with a child
• A soldier active duty or not

As you can see with the situations above we are constantly sending our young adults conflicting messages, on the one hand we tell them they are adults but on the other we tell them that they are the responsibility of their parents. Yet we also tell them that if they are pregnant or fighting for us only then will we treat them in full as an adult.

What we need to do, is come up with a single common age limit of when a young adult is to be considered a full adult in their own right. What the right age definition should be is hard to say. Should we go old school or retro and throw the rules back to the early 1700’s when a young person was not considered an adult until they reached their majority at age 25. Yet society married them off, at least the young ladies, as early as 16 back then; and we encouraged the young men to seek military jobs or apprenticeships as young as 15 and 16. Perhaps we should make 18 the universal age of adult hood, but then we will have to readdress the drinking age, which while once was around 18 almost nation wide is now 21. Unless, you live in a state that has thumbed it’s nose at Federal Highway and Safety Money, which is tied to the drinking age. Maybe we can look to our neighbors and allies across the Atlantic {or the pond if you prefer ;)} and allow our young adults full adult citizenship at the tender age of 16 without having to go to court to get emancipation. I don’t know that it fully happens that way, but I have heard of some as young as 16 being out on their own aka emancipated. Or perhaps 21 the current drinking age in most areas would be the better ‘magic’ age to declare our young adults as adults now legally responsible for themselves. Then we must answer the questions of ‘what of those already out should there be a grandfather clause’ and what of the families, i.e. the parents who
will then be considered responsible for all of these young adults. What does an additional 1 to 7 years do their sanity, budget, retirement potential?

While I haven’t watched it the Will Ferrell movie Step Brothers comes to mind. In which the promo spots portray the chaos, frustration, and purported comedy^ that ensues when two adults in their 50’s to 60’s get married yet still have their grown adult sons living with them. The visions of millions of households across the nation suddenly dealing with the turmoil that ensues from being required to take back their young as we suddenly declare our young adults no longer adults but rather once again wards of their parents and revoke their adult privileges.

© Melinda Dawn Garren April 8th, 2014

**Some states have changed their laws and now support foster youth and other state wards until high school graduation, and in some cases may provide additional support for college.
*25 is what I and others have encountered on most financial aid forms, for some it might be as low as 21.
^ I use the phrase I do because {A} as stated I haven’t seen the movie {B} I’m not a fan of Mr. Ferrell’s comedy style.