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10500 Trial Independence and Return for Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

A young adult who was in DFPS managing conservatorship when turning 18 and leaves care will have a trial independence period for at least six months. The young adult may return for Extended Foster Care at any time prior to the month before the young adult’s 21st birthday, provided the young adult meets the requirements in 10420 Qualifying for Extended Foster Care.

Questions about trial independence and return for Extended Foster Care may be directed to PAL staff or the regional re-entry staff for the region.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.346(e)

10510 Trial Independence

CPS October 2017

Trial independence (TI) permits a young adult age 18 or older to voluntarily leave Extended Foster Care for up to 6 months (or up to 12 months with a court order) and live independently without losing foster care eligibility.

Caseworkers are not required to make contact with a young adult on TI or provide any services, unless the young adult requests assistance beyond what the PAL staff can provide and the request is reasonable or necessary for the situation.

For additional information on trial independence, see the Trial Independence and Return Before Turning 21 Resource Guide.

10520 Return for Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

A young adult who was in DFPS managing conservatorship when turning 18 and leaves care may return for Extended Foster Care at any time prior to the month before the young adult’s 21st birthday, provided the young adult meets the requirements in 10420 Qualifying for Extended Foster Care

Yong Adults with Children

A young adult may return for Extended Foster Care with a child. Unless DFPS is granted conservatorship of the young adult’s child, DFPS does not provide the young adult’s child with foster care Medicaid. However, DFPS may pay for foster care placement for the young adult’s child if the young adult and child reside in the same placement. The young adult is responsible for applying with HHSC to obtain Medicaid coverage for the child.

The PAL worker must create a Subcare Case Related Special Request – Public Service (SUB C-PB) stage for the young adult’s child. The foster care eligibility specialist must record eligibility for the child with a Medicaid Eligibility Type of None to ensure a referral is not sent to HHSC to add foster care eligibility.

For more information regarding eligibility for children of a young adult who has returned for Extended Foster Care, see:

1542 Return for Extended Foster Care

6450 When a Youth in Substitute Care is Pregnant

Trial Independence and Return Before Turning 21 Resource Guide

Extended Foster Care Resource Guide (see Young Adult with Dependent Children)

Returning to Extended Foster Care for College Breaks and Holidays

Young adults not in Extended Foster Care, who are attending college or a vocational or technical program, are eligible to return for Extended Foster Care during semester breaks for at least one month but no more than four months.

When young adults return to the foster home or foster care facility for weekends or breaks during the semester, these are considered visits and not foster care placements.

10521 Referring the Young Adult to Regional PAL Staff

CPS October 2017

If a caseworker receives an inquiry about a young adult who wants to return for Extended Foster Care the caseworker must direct the individual to the regional PAL coordinator in the region where the young adult lives.

10522 Acceptance Criteria for Return to Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

PAL staff must ensure that, before a young adult is accepted for return for Extended Foster Care:

  •   the young adult:

  •   is 18, 19, or 20 years old;

  •   was in DFPS conservatorship the day before turning 18;

  •   is able to meet at least one of the education or work related criteria for Extended Foster Care, or be incapable of performing any of those activities due to a documented medical condition, within 30 days of placement as discussed in 10421 Eligibility for Extended Foster Care;

  •   the young adult, or his or her guardian, is willing to sign or re-sign the Extended Foster Care Agreement;

  •   a criminal background check and Abuse/Neglect Registry check is performed. If criminal activity or a Registry Reason to Believe (RTB) finding is found, this could affect the ability to find a placement; and

  •   there is an available placement willing to accept the young adult.

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.346

10530 Roles and Responsibilities of Staff Helping a Young Adult Return for Extended Foster Care

10531 Roles and Responsibilities of PAL Staff

CPS October 2017

PAL staff must:

  •   prescreen the young adult for eligibility for returning to Extended Foster Care,

  •   start the return process, and

  •   refer the case to the assigned regional re-entry liaison.

10532 Re-Entry Liaison

CPS October 2017

The regional re-entry liaison must:

  •   evaluate and approve the referral for the young adult wanting to return for Extended Foster Care;

  •   verify the young adult’s legal region (region where DFPS was granted conservatorship);

  •   determine the conservatorship (CVS) unit to which to assign the returning young adult; and

  •   review criminal background information, if available.

10533 Conservatorship (CVS) Caseworker

CPS October 2017

Once the Re-Entry Liaison approves the young adult’s return, the case must be assigned to the conservatorship (CVS) unit quickly so casework activities can be assigned. Until the CVS Unit is assigned, the PAL worker handling the return must briefly continue casework responsibilities.

Once the CVS caseworker is assigned, the CVS caseworker must:

  •   review the referral information and the situation in IMPACT;

  •   contact the PAL worker for additional details;

  •   contact the child placement unit for an update if a placement has not yet been obtained; and

  •   assist the young adult as needed.

The caseworker must:

  •   ensure that the young adult signs (or resigns) Form 2540 Voluntary Extended Foster Care Agreement (VEFCA) and, if applicable, Form 2540 SSA Financial Agreement;

  •   continue documentation in the open SUB REG stage if returning during a trial independence period, or casework-related special request (CRSR) case if returning after the trial independence period has ended. If a CRSR case is being used, progress the CRSR from the Intake Return to Care (INT C-RC) stage to the Subcare Return to Care (SUB C-CR) stage in IMPACT upon securing a placement;

  •   complete all pre-placement and placement activities;

  •   complete all post-placement activities and documentation and send required documentation to the foster care eligibility specialist;

  •   ensure that Form 2563 Return for Extended Foster Care Checklist is completed and filed in the young adult’s case record.

If the current primary worker of the SUB stage’s role is ending, the CVS supervisor must make arrangements to have the SUB REG stage transferred to the unit that will be handling the SUB REG stage going forward.

10540 Providing Support After a Young Adult Returns to Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

If an eligibility review based on the requirements for extended foster care was done when the youth turned 18, an eligibility review is not needed until the youth turns 19 or 20. If such a review based on the requirements for extended foster care has not been done, such a review must be completed within 30 days to resuming care.

10541 Contacts and Time Frames

CPS October 2017

The assigned caseworker or unit re-entry caseworker must contact the young adult and the caregiver according to the time frames outlined in the following table:

Time Frame

Contact Type

Within 72 Hours of Placement

Initial Contact With the Young Adult

Within 72 hours of the young adult’s placement in Extended Foster Care, the young adult’s caseworker must contact the young adult to schedule a meeting to review the case and discuss next steps. The meeting must be held within one week of being scheduled.

If the young adult does not have transportation to the meeting, the caseworker must arrange to meet at a location that is convenient for the young adult.

Initial Contact With the Caregiver

Within 72 hours of the young adult’s placement in Extended Foster Care, the caseworker must schedule a meeting with the young adult’s caregiver to review the plan of action that the caseworker and young adult are developing. The meeting must be held within one week of being scheduled.

Within the First Month of Placement

Within the first month of the young adult’s placement in Extended Foster Care, the assigned caseworker must meet with the young adult and his or her caregiver to review and discuss the young adult’s:

  •   reason for returning for Extended Foster Care;

  •   Form 2540 Voluntary Extended Foster Care Agreement (VEFCA);

  •   plan for meeting Extended Foster Care requirements;

  •   plan for maintaining documents required for education, employment, and/or job preparation activities;

  •   transition plan, including revisions as needed;

  •   rights and responsibilities while in care;

  •   Medicaid coverage or other available health coverage; and

  •   additional needs.

The caseworker must begin developing a service plan with the young adult.

The young adult may attend Circles of Support meetings and other meetings held to discuss the young adult’s transition plan.

The caseworker must document efforts in the open SUB REG stage or CRSR SUB C-REG stage.

10542 Revising the Transition Plan

CPS October 2017

The caseworker must assist the young adult in reviewing and revising the transition plan within 30 days of the placement.

The caseworker must review the plan with the young adult to ensure it includes:

  •   a description of the activities the young adult will be participating in and other activities which will help the young adult prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living;

  •   long-term housing options, health insurance, education goals, local mentoring opportunities, employment, and continuing support services;

  •   updated personal information in the young adult’s health and education records originally provided to the young adult when leaving care; and

  •   the young adult’s necessary personal documents. The caseworker identifies how missing documents will be obtained.

The transition plan may be as detailed as the young adult determines. The caseworker must conduct a face-to-face assessment with the young adult to determine if the plan is achievable and discuss areas of concern or the need for additional information.

10543 Completing the Child Plan of Service

CPS October 2017

The caseworker must complete a new Initial Plan of Service within 45 days of placement back in Extended Foster Care. The caseworker can copy and paste information from an earlier plan or review as appropriate.

10544 Restarting Court Reviews

CPS October 2017

If a young adult returns during the trial independence period, the caseworker must file for a foster care court review, to take place within six months of the previous court review or, if a longer time has expired, within 30 days of returning to Extended Foster Care. See 5632 Required Court Actions During and After Trial Independence.

If a young adult returns after a TI period, court jurisdiction has ended and cannot be reinstated.

10545 Ongoing Casework Activity after Resuming Care

CPS October 2017

The caseworker must follow the casework activity policies for Extended Foster Care. See 10440 Casework Activity for Young Adults in Extended Foster Care.

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