Youth Transitioning to Independence
In some cases, CPS cannot find someone to take permanent custody of a child. These youth generally stay in state care until age 18. CPS works to connect these youth with adults who are committed to them and can provide support to them. These youth may stay in foster care until the age of 21 while they seek an education or a job.
The Transitional Living Services (TLS) program provides various services to help these youth learn to live successfully on their own. Preparation for Adult Living services help youth ages 16 to 18 years of age prepare for the future. Programs for older youth include Education and Training Vouchers, College Tuition and Fee Waivers, Extended Foster Care, and more.
Extended Foster Care
Foster youth who don't achieve permanency usually leave state care after their 18th birthday. However, they can stay in or return to foster care through age 21 or 22, depending on their situation. Unless they have a medical condition that prevents it, youth must do one of the following to stay in Extended Foster Care:
- Attend high school or a program to get a high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate (GED).
- Attend college or other institutions of higher learning.
- Take part in a program or activity to make them job ready.
- Work for at least 80 hours a month.
Education and Training
The Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program gives financial help to youth before and after they leave CPS care while they go to college or attend other educational programs after high school. ETV helps with expenses such as rent, computers, books, daycare, and transportation. This voucher is for former foster youth, youth adopted from state care, and some other youth whose guardians are not their parents. Youth who get Permanency Care Assistance after age 16 are also eligible. Former foster youth also get free tuition and fees at state-supported universities, colleges, junior colleges, and vocational schools.
You will find more about services for youth at TexasYouthConnection.org and the DFPS website.