LISTEN: Former foster youth in Alaska push for repayment of benefits

Clockwise from top left: Tristen Hunter, Ethan Harvey, Malerie McClusky, Katrina Edwards, Mateo Jaime and Alex Carter. Each is owed benefits ranging from $700 a month to more than $20,000. (NPR)

When children lose parents to death, addiction or incarceration, sometimes the state becomes their legal guardian. An investigation by NPR and the Marshall Project has highlighted that many states, including Alaska, take the dependent child’s social security benefits, often leaving them with no money to help them when they turn 18 and age out of foster care. A class action lawsuit mounted by former Alaska foster youth challenging this practice is now underway.

HOST: Lori Townsend


  • Jim Davis, attorney, Northern Justice Project
  • Mateo Jaime, lawsuit plaintiff
  • Katrina Edwards, lawsuit plaintiff
  • Alex Carter, lead lawsuit plaintiff
  • Joe Shapiro, reporter, NPR



Call 550-8422 (Anchorage) or 1-800-478-8255 (statewide) during the live broadcast.

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LIVE Broadcast: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 10 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.
LIVE Web stream: Click here to stream.

Lori Townsend is the news director and senior host for Alaska Public Media. You can send her news tips and program ideas for Talk of Alaska and Alaska Insight at or call 907-550-8452.

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