Take 5: to Learn About Transitioning Foster Youth Services

Take 5: to learn what you need to know about services for extended foster care and transitioning youth. It's not as difficult as you may think… although when you first hear about it, it seems a bit daunting. But as you'll see below, it's really not as tough as you may have thought.

Thanks to Liz Damski, we have a wonderful checklist you can use to easily reference what services are available to youth transitioning out of foster care. Her much prettier version is available to download and a text version is presented below.

We have also provided circuit directors and supervising attorneys with an excellent training tool on the role of guardians ad litem in extended foster care. It is designed specifically for program staff and volunteers. Ask them (beg and plead, if you have to) to schedule an in-service training session for you and your fellow volunteers. I think you'll find that this topic has a ton of useful information for kids.

Extended Foster Care Checklist

Florida Guardian ad Litem Program — Independent Living Redesign Checklist
Extended Foster Care, Post-secondary Education Services and Support, Aftercare Services,
Transition Plans, Judicial Reviews and Case Closing

Extended Foster Care (EFC) (18–21)
Automatic extended court jurisdiction allows young adults to remain in foster care until their 21st birthday, or 22nd birthday if they have a documented disability.

Eligibility:

  • In licensed foster care on their 18th birthday and
  • Are working at least 80 hours per month or
  • Are in high school, GED, college, etc. or
  • Are participating in a job skills program or
  • Are unable to participate in any of the above activities due to a disability

Young Adults Must:

  • Meet with caseworker once a month
  • Continue to participate in activities such as a job, school, job skills program
  • Attend Court reviews every six months
  • Live with foster parents, or in a group home, apartment, dorm or other supervised independent environment
  • Be given expenses (e.g. food, transportation) and allowance

Post-secondary Education Services and Support (PESS) (18–23)

Eligibility:

  • Turned 18 while residing in licensed care and have spent a total of six months in licensed out-of-home care before turning 18 or
  • Adopted after the age of 16 from foster care or placed with a court-approved dependency guardian after spending at least 6 months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately preceding such placement or adoption and
  • Have earned a standard high school diploma, or its equivalent.
  • Enrolled in college, a university or vocational school that is Florida Bright Futures eligible for at least 9 hours a semester.

Living Arrangements:

  • If in EFC, then the young adult must live in an approved living arrangement
  • If the young adult is not in EFC, the young adult may live in any place of his or her choosing
  • For the young adult who is not in EFC, there is no prohibition against living with a parent or relative, nor does being married or adult-adopted disqualify a young adult from receiving PESS

Aftercare Services (18–21)
Aftercare services are available to young adults 18 years old but not yet 23 years old who are not enrolled in EFC or PESS

Provides for Emergency Services:

  • Housing
  • Electric bills
  • Transportation
  • Security deposits for rent or utilities
  • Furnishings
  • Household goods
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Sewer service
  • Food

Transition Plan Development

  • Within 180 days of 17th birthday (JR is still by day 90)
  • In collaboration with DCF, CBC, caregiver, child/young adult, and anyone the child wishes to include
  • Time, place, and location must be convenient for the child and the persons the child wants to include
  • Meeting must be conducted in child's primary language
  • If child is leaving care upon age 18, must be approved by the court before the child leaves care
  • To be reviewed and updated as needed as long as child remains in care
  • Must detail
    • Housing
    • Health insurance
    • Education
    • Workforce support
    • Employment services
    • Accommodations for those with disabilities
    • Emergency contact person
    • Participation in case planning, JR reports
  • Must consider establishing/maintaining naturally occurring mentoring relationships and personal support services
  • Must coordinate with IL services provided by the DCF/CBC in the case plan; TIEP transition plan

DCF/CBC Must Provide Young Adult With (17 Judicial Review)

  • Medicaid card and information to apply
  • Certified copy of birth certificate
  • State identification card if no driver's license
  • Social Security Card
  • Information on social security insurance benefits for eligible child
  • Master trust accounting and information on accessing the funds held in trust
  • Information on eligibility and applying for RTI
  • Bank account or identification to open bank account
  • Banking skills training
  • Information on how to apply for public assistance
  • Clear understanding of where will be living, what educational program will be enrolled in and how expenses will be paid at age 18
  • Information on ability to remain in care
  • A letter stating the dates under child has been under court jurisdiction
  • A letter stating child is in compliance with financial aid documentation requirements
  • Educational records
  • Health and mental health records
  • Process for accessing his or her case file
  • Encouragement to attend JRs

Judicial Review and Permanency Review

17 Judicial Review:

  • Ensure Transition Plan is complete and above is complete

18+ Judicial Review:

  • Every 6 months — can be more often if requested
  • Case plan goals progress
  • Independent living and transition plan progress
  • Appropriate services are being provided
  • Court may order additional services

Permanency Review:

  • At least yearly
  • Make sure young adult understands
    • Permanency plan
    • Case plan
    • Individual education plan

Closing the Case

Case Stays Open Unless Court Finds Young Adult:

  • Waived their right to attend the hearing (in writing) after being informed of their right to attend;
  • Understands all that is available to them before age 21 and has signed a document stating they have been informed; or
  • The young adult has voluntarily left the program, has not signed the document, and is unwilling to participate in any further court proceeding.

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