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California’s Approach for Implementing the Federal Fostering Connections to Success Ac


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California’s Approach for Implementing the Federal Fostering Connections to Success Ac by Lindsay Elliott from
5.8 Ending Homelessness for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care at the 2014 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness.

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California’s Approach for Implementing the Federal Fostering Connections to Success Ac

  1. 1. California’s Approach for Implementing the Federal Fostering Connections to Success Act & Ending Homelessness for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care National Alliance to End Homelessness February 19, 2014
  2. 2. California’s Foster Care System  There are approximately 63,000 youth in foster care in California  Annually, around 5,000 youth “age out” of California’s foster care system  Designed to align with the Federal Fostering Connections to Success Act (2008)  When AB 12 was enacted, California was facing a $21 billion deficit
  3. 3. Key Factors in Passing AB 12  Built off of the momentum of federal Fostering Connections to SuccessAct  Fostering Connections 2008 changed the landscape of foster care.  Foster care could now be provided to young adults up to the age of 21 with title IV-E funding  Legislative Champions –Asm. Bass and Beall  Strong and diverse group of co-sponsors  Relied on research demonstrating the impact of extended foster care  Active foster youth participation in policy development  Broad bipartisan support for the legislation
  4. 4. Eligibility Overview • Extended benefits available to: • Non-Minor Dependents (NMD’s) under court supervision– as defined in the next slide, including youth who are on probation and under an order for foster care placement at age 18 • Youth who entered Kin-GAP (guardianship w/relatives) at age 16 or older. • Youth who entered the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP), as long as the adoption agreement was signed when the youth was age 16 or older. • Former dependents/wards in non-related legal guardianships created in juvenile court (not probate court), regardless of the age of the youth when the guardianship was created.
  5. 5. Summary of Extended Foster Care Eligibility Requirements According to definition of NMD, youth must: 1. Satisfy the age criteria. 2. Have an order for a foster care placement at age 18. 3. Satisfy at least 1 of 5 participation requirements. Youth must also: 4. Agree to live in an approved/licensed supervised placement. 5. Agree to remain under the jurisdiction of the court as a NMD by signing a mutual agreement.
  6. 6. Eligibility: Participation Requirements Be enrolled in high school or pursuing GED Be enrolled in college/vocational school Participate in a program/activity that removes barriers to employment Work at least 80 hours/month Be unable to do one of the above because of a medical or mental health condition 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5.
  7. 7. Inclusive Participation Criteria  Anticipates that some NMDs will be in transition between participation activities ( loss of a job, medical crisis)  As long as the NMDs are still working toward their goals, the temporary set back does not make them ineligible  Back up plans and participation conditions are designed to be inclusive and bridge gaps in eligibility  Participation Condition # 3: A program/activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment is an individualized program based on a youth-centered assessment of skills and needs.  Activities may include, but are not limited to, unpaid employment/internship, volunteer activities, parenting classes, mental health treatment, and participation in programs for drug or alcohol addiction treatment All County Letter 11-61
  8. 8. Placement Options
  9. 9. Placement Considerations  NMD youth are adults  Placements should be least restrictive  Encourage independence  Developmental needs and readiness for independence  Decisions are made in conversation with the youth
  10. 10. Placement Types: Available to Minors & Nonminors Available to minors and NMDs:  Living with an approved relative or extended family member  Living with a foster family  Home of a Non-related Legal Guardian  “Dual Agency” Homes for Developmentally Disabled Available temporarily/with limitations to NMDs:  Transitional Housing Placement Program (THPP)  Group Home
  11. 11. Placement Types: Available Only to Non-Minors 2 new settings created for non-minor dependents:  Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP)  Transitional Housing Placement-Plus Foster Care (THP+FC) Program
  12. 12. THP-Plus Foster Care  State licensed placement  Provides housing and supportive services in semi- supervised setting  Single site, Scattered/remote site, or host family  Ideal placement option for youth who are unable to reside in foster homes but aren’t ready for a SILP
  13. 13. Supervised Independent Living Placement (the “SILP”)  Readiness assessment required • Physical inspection required • Least restrictive placement • Youth may receive foster care payment directly (i.e. stipend ($820 per month) Housing options include: ▫ Apartments ▫ Room and board arrangements ▫ College dorms/student housing ▫ Shared room mate arrangement
  15. 15. Assumption of Eligibility  Extended Foster Care is an “opt out” program.  There is an assumption that the youth who attains 18 years of age will remain in care unless s/he opts out of care.  The court is responsible for finding that the youth continues to meet one of the participation conditions in order to remain eligible and that the agency provides reasonable efforts to assist the youth in meeting participation conditions and ensuring ongoing eligibility. WIC 366.31,391(e), 11400(v) &11403
  16. 16. Failure to Meet Participation Requirements  It is the Court’s role to determine if NMD is not participating in a reasonable TILCP.  The burden of proof of nonparticipation/ noncompliance is on the SW/PO.  SW/PO must document reasonable efforts to provide NMD with assistance to meet/maintain participation in TILP activities.
  17. 17. Re-entry
  18. 18.  Youth must be informed of right to re-entry at termination hearing  Youth can re-enter as many times as necessary prior to turning 21 yrs old.  Re-entry process is intended to be as accessible and easy as possible **Goal is to permit youth to experience independence, while allowing a safety net. Re-entry into Extended Foster Care
  19. 19. Process for Re-entry Youth contacts agency Signs voluntary re- entry agreement Aid begins on date youth signs agreement and resides in a qualified placement Initial meeting with social worker /PO temporarily satisfies participation conditions Agency has 15 days to file court petition or youth can file directly
  21. 21. Special Population: Parenting Youth  What is in place to support them?  Additional/increased monthly payments  Shared Responsibility Plans  ILP geared towards parenting youth  Encourages continued legislation
  22. 22. Special Population: Juvenile Justice Youth  Probation youth (“wards”) with court order for foster care placement at age 18 are eligible  At the time probation ends, youth may be eligible for new “transition jurisdiction”  Court may also assume transition jurisdiction upon re- entry to foster care
  23. 23. Where we are Today Implementation Phase II  Training, Training, Training  Getting the Word Out  Role of Peer Advocate  Resistance from Professionals  Confusion re Requirements  Youth Residing Out of State  Housing – realizing the full potential
  24. 24. Contact Information Lindsay Elliott, JD, MSW Children’s Law Center of California