RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - Virginia leaders gathered with researchers and activists to talk about foster children, and the support needed to help them transition into adulthood.

Dozens attended the Family Impact Seminar at the state capitol Tuesday. The Virginia Commonwealth University Wilder School of Government and the Virginia Commission on Youth partnered to host the event.

Many in attendance applauded the additional funding approved this past legislative session to extend the support of foster children through age 21.

97th District Delegate Chris Peace (R), a leader on the commission, says he's glad to see the program move forward with increased services.

"For every dollar we invest in keeping a kid in care to 21, and the supportive services that come with it, there's a $2 economic benefit to the commonwealth. So as a fiscal conservative I can't see of any better way to invest our money and be pro-family," Peace said.

The delegate says starting July 1, Virginia will join the ranks of 21 other states who have passed legislation to extend their foster care programs.

One of the purposes of the Fostering Futures program will be to help connect those young people with a permanent family, either reunifying with their biological parents or another adult in their lives who can be a stable and supportive presence. Without that, experts said these young people are at greater risk of homelessness or legal problems.