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10400 Extended Foster Care for Youth Who Are Age 18 or Older

CPS October 2017

Extended Foster Care is a voluntary program that allows a young adult to reside in a paid foster care placement after DFPS legal conservatorship ends, if the young adult is participating in qualifying activities and if there is an available placement. Extended foster care placements include foster care placements such as:

  •   foster family-homes;

  •   foster group-homes;

  •   residential group-care facilities;

  •   emergency shelters; and

  •   facilities under the authority of other state agencies.

Extended foster care placements also include supervised independent living placements. See 10460 Supervised Independent Living (SIL).

Young adults may also be approved to return to Extended Foster Care. See 10500 Trial Independence and Return for Extended Foster Care.

Young adults in Extended Foster Care have different needs and legal rights than younger children.

See Form 2541 Extended Care: Client Rights and Responsibilities.

For DFPS young adults served by a DFPS single-source continuum contractor (SSCC), refer to the SIL section in the local Foster Care Redesign Operations Manual. The Operations Manual for each SSCC catchment area can be found on the DFPS Policy Handbooks page, under CPS Foster Care Redesign on the left side.

For additional information, see the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide.

10410 Preparation Required When a Youth Plans To Stay in Extended Foster Care

10411 Within 90 Days Before the Youth’s 18th Birthday

CPS October 2017

For youth who elect to stay in Extended Foster Care after turning 18 and as part of the transition planning process, the caseworker must:

  •   conduct a face-to-face meeting with the youth explaining the requirements the youth must meet while in extended foster care and his or her continued eligibility to remain in extended foster care;

  •   discuss Form 2541 Extended Care: Client Rights & Responsibilities and the Extended Foster Care pamphlet (see the Extended Foster Care page for English and Spanish versions of the pamphlet);

  •   explain the Voluntary Extended Foster Care Agreement (VEFCA) form to the youth and have the youth sign the agreement; and

  •   request that the court authorize an extension of court jurisdiction of twelve months at the last placement review hearing before the youth’s 18th birthday. See 5612 Actions Required by the Caseworker for All Youth Aging out of DFPS Conservatorship.

10412 As Soon as Possible After the 18th Birthday

CPS October 2017

For youth that elect to stay in Extended Foster Care after turning 18 and as part of the transition planning process, the caseworker must:

  •   file a notice of dismissal of the court’s conservatorship and update the court on the status of extended jurisdiction. See 5612 Actions Required by the Caseworker for All Youth Aging out of DFPS Conservatorship;

  •   check the Legal Status in IMPACT to show DFPS responsibility was terminated within seven days after the youth turns 18;

  •   document the extension of court jurisdiction as discussed on Form 2050 IMPACT Documentation of Trial Independence;

  •   verify if the youth is receiving SSA benefits. If so, the youth must sign a Voluntary Extended Foster Care Agreement (VEFCA) financial agreement to turn over the monthly Social Security benefit to DFPS;

  •   send the foster care eligibility specialist a copy of the signed VEFCA financial agreement, and if the SSA sends monthly benefits checks directly to the young adult, he or she must send the checks to the appropriate regional Children’s Income Account (CIA) office. Benefits are deposited into the CIA and used against cost of care. (If the cost of care is less than the monthly payment the remaining is conserved for the young adult’s future use.);

  •   ensure that the youth’s service plan and transition plan are updated to address long-term goals while in care; and

  •   complete and submit a Foster Care Review to the foster care eligibility specialist through IMPACT. The caseworker must also send the specialist documents verifying that the youth meets at least one of the educational and work related criteria for extended foster care assistance (see 10421 Eligibility for Extended Foster Care), or that the youth is unable to do so due to a documented medical condition. If the foster care eligibility specialist does not approve Extended Foster Care, the young adult’s foster care placement and the foster care eligibility ends on the last day of the month of the young adult’s 18th birthday.

10420 Qualifying for Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

The caseworker must verify that:

  •   there is an available placement;

  •   the young adult must:

  •   have been in DFPS conservatorship the day before his or her 18th birthday;

  •   sign a Form 2540 Voluntary Extended Foster Care Agreement (VEFCA); if the young adult has a physical or intellectual disability, see 10425 Issues Signing the VEFCA for a Young Adult with a Physical or Intellectual Disability); and

  •   meet at least one of the education or work related eligibility criteria (see 10421 Eligibility for Extended Foster Care), or be incapable of performing all of those activities due to a documented medical condition.

When a young adult decides to remain for Extended Foster Care, the caseworker must:

  •   prepare the Foster Care Review for Extended Foster Care; and

  •   submit it to the foster care eligibility specialist along with the necessary paperwork (verification of the young adult’s participation in an education or work-related activity and a Foster Care Review for Extended Foster Care eligibility) for approval.

If the foster care eligibility specialist does not approve Extended Foster Care, the young adult’s foster care placement and the foster care eligibility end on the last day of the month in which the youth turns 18.

Texas Family Code §264.101(a-1)

In the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide see Redetermining Foster Care Eligibility at 18.

10421 Eligibility for Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

The caseworker must verify that the young adult meets one or more of the following education or work related criteria to establish initial eligibility and to remain eligible for Extended Foster Care. The caseworker must ensure that the young adult maintains sufficient documentation as required by the terms of the young adult’s Voluntary Extended Foster Care Agreement (VEFCA) and provides this documentation to the caregiver or the caseworker upon request.

To continue to receive foster care, a young adult must be…

and...

18, 19, or 20 years old…

  •   regularly attending high school or a program leading to a high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate (GED);

  •   regularly attending an institution of higher learning or postsecondary vocational or technical program (minimum six hours per semester);

  •   participating in a program or activity that promotes or removes barriers to employment;

  •   employed at least 80 hours a month; or

  •   incapable of performing the activities described above due to a documented medical condition.

21 years old…

regularly attending high school or a program leading to a high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate (GED).

Texas Family Code §264.101(a-1), (a-2)

DFPS Rules, 40 TAC §700.346

For the young adult to continue being eligible for Extended Foster Care, the caseworker must confirm annually that the young adult is meeting one or more of the education and work related criteria.

The caseworker must inform a young adult regularly attending either high school or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) program that he or she may remain eligible until whichever of the following occurs first:

  •   the young adult completes or withdraws from the program; or

  •   the young adult turns 22 years old, in which case eligibility ends on the last day of the month of the young adult’s birthday.

The caseworker must inform a young adult in higher education or a work related activity, or who is incapacitated, that she or he remains eligible for Extended Foster Care until whichever of the following occurs first:

  •   the young adult completes or withdraws from the program; or

  •   the young adult turns 21 years old, in which case eligibility ends on the last day of the month of the young adult’s birthday.

10422 Transitioning Between Education or Work Related Activities

CPS October 2017

The caseworker must inform the young adult that, if she or he is no longer engaged in one of the educational or work related activities necessary to remain eligible for Extended Foster Care, the young adult has a maximum of 30 days in which to begin participating in another educational or work related activity in order to remain continuously eligible for Extended Foster Care.

The caseworker must help the young adult make the necessary transitions between educational and work related programs. The young adult must show diligence in enrolling and participating in one of these activities within the 30-day time frame. If the young adult is unable to begin participating in a new educational or work related activity within the required 30-day period, he or she must leave Extended Foster Care.

10422.1 Enrollment in a Higher Education Program or a Post-Secondary Vocational or Technical School

CPS October 2017

The caseworker must inform the young adult that:

  •   the young adult remains eligible for Extended Foster Care if she or he has just completed his or her high school diploma or GED and is accepted into:

  •   a higher educational program;

  •   another post-secondary vocational or technical program with regular terms; or

  •   an online distance learning program which leads to a degree or certificate; and

  •   the young adult must begin taking the required number of class hours in the first regular semester that begins after the young adult graduates or obtains a GED.

A young adult not enrolled in at least six hours of higher education or vocational or technical classes per semester must participate in or attend another education or work related activity. A young adult whose eligibility is based on enrollment in higher education must be encouraged to use the time productively during summer months and between regular terms, but will remain eligible for Extended Foster Care provided he or she is enrolled in at least six hours of classes in each regular term.

10423 Monitoring Continued Participation and Annual Eligibility Review

CPS October 2017

Once eligibility is established, the caseworker must conduct monthly face-to-face meetings with the young adult to ensure that the young adult is continuing to meet the eligibility requirements.

The caseworker must document, in the monthly contact narrative, the information obtained from the young adult that demonstrates his or her continued eligibility for extended foster care.

The caseworker also must provide annual verification to the Foster Care eligibility specialist ensuring that the young adult meets at least one of the educational and work related criteria for Extended Foster Care assistance. Acceptable methods or types of verification vary by Extended Foster Care eligibility criteria. In the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide see Ongoing Review of Eligibility for Extended Services for annual eligibility procedures for Extended Foster Care.

10424 Temporary Absences From Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

Temporary absences are those in which a young adult is absent from a placement but intends to return in the short term These absences are distinct from a trial independence period, in which a young adult intends to leave foster care and has no concrete intentions to return.

DFPS must continue to provide Title IV-E Extended Foster Care assistance to young adults if they are temporarily absent from the Extended Foster Care setting for up to 14 days and return to the same foster care provider at the end of the temporary absence.

If an absence extends past 14 days but is no longer than 30 days, state-paid assistance may be available. An absence that exceeds 30 days does not necessarily mean that a young adult has left foster care. A young adult is still considered in Extended Foster Care if he or she continues to participate in an eligible activity, has not indicated that he or she no longer wishes to remain in care, and is simply in a non-foster care setting temporarily. For more information see 1537 Foster Care Payments During Absences From Foster Care Placements.

In the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide see also Temporary Absences from Extended Foster Care.

10425 Issues Signing the VEFCA for a Young Adult with a Physical or Intellectual Disability

10425.1 Physically Unable to Sign VEFCA

CPS October 2017

If the young adult understands and agrees to sign the VEFCA form, but has a physical disability making it difficult for the young adult to sign, the caseworker may assist by marking an “X” or signing the young adult’s name before two witnesses who also sign the form. The witnesses who also sign the form must sign a statement located on the form stating that the caseworker explained the agreement and the young adult understood the agreement and agreed to mark or sign the form.

10425.2 Mental Capacity Issues in Signing the VEFCA

CPS October 2017

If the caseworker has concerns regarding the mental capacity of a youth under 18 years of age to understand the VEFCA, the caseworker must work with the youth’s attorney ad litem (AAL) or guardian ad litem (GAL) to sign the VEFCA along with the youth to indicate the AAL or GAL’s agreement with the youth remaining in Extended Foster Care. The caseworker must make every attempt to discuss the youth’s history and current intellectual capacity with the therapist, caregiver and any other person with relevant information in order to assist the AAL or the GAL in determining the wishes of the youth, if possible.

In addition, the caseworker must work with the regional disability specialist to determine if a referral for guardianship is appropriate.

See:

10343.1 Preparing to Request Appointment of a Guardian

10343.3 Initiating the HHSC Guardianship Referral

HHSC Guardianship Services Handbook, 2411 Appropriateness for HHSC Guardianship

10430 Placements

10431 Requesting Regular Foster Care Placements

CPS October 2017

For regular foster care placements, if a new foster care placement is needed for a DFPS young adult 18 and older, follow the same placement procedures discussed in 4100 The Placement Process

10431.1 Requesting SIL Placements

CPS October 2017

For requesting supervised independent living placements, see 10463.1 Initial Placement Process.

10440 Casework Activity for Young Adults in Extended Foster Care

10441 Casework Activity

CPS October 2017

When a young adult is in DFPS Extended Foster Care, the caseworker must continue to:

  •   conduct face-to-face monthly visits, which include discussions with the young adult about his or her progress in addressing Extended Foster Care goals and eligibility requirements and in addressing other transition plan goals;

  •   request a Local Permanency specialist if needed and communicate regularly on the young adult’s progress;

  •   assist with information about other transitional living services or other support services as needed;

  •   conduct quarterly face-to-face contact with the caregiver, unless more frequent contact is needed or requested;

  •   review the service plan jointly with the young adult at least every six months, focusing on what the young adult will do to meet his or her own needs with support from the caregiver, as needed;

  •   review the young adult’s Transition Plan;

  •   obtain copies, during monthly visits, of the required documentation for the young adult’s educational and work related activities. In the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide see Redetermining Foster Care Eligibility at 18 for acceptable types of documentation;

  •   request updates as required for service level reviews for moderate, specialized, and intense levels;

  •   request Circles of Support or Transition Plan meetings, as appropriate, and participate if scheduled;

  •   identify caring adults in the young adult’s life;

  •   document contacts and other activities in IMPACT;

  •   prepare documents required for and participate in court reviews held every six months, as identified in 5622 Actions Required by the Caseworker for Young Adults in Extended Foster Care;

  •   request the redetermination of foster care eligibility annually in IMPACT and send supporting documentation to the Foster Care eligibility specialist, until the young adult is age 21 (or 22 if the young adult is in high school or a GED program). In the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide see Ongoing Review of Eligibility for Extended Services; and

  •   if the young adult is in a supervised independent living (SIL) program, file copies of all records provided by the SIL provider in the young adult’s case record.

In the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide see also Casework Activity for Young Adults in Extended Foster Care.

10442 Medical Consenter Issues and Documentation

CPS October 2017

Young adults are legally entitled to make their own medical decisions at age 18, unless HHSC or another individual or entity is appointed by a probate court as their legal guardian. For a young adult in Extended Foster Care who is 18 years or older, the caseworker must:

  •   not issue Form 2085-B Placement Authorization, as this form is only used for minor children in DFPS conservatorship;

  •   document young adults 18 years old or older on the IMPACT Medical Consent page as their own primary medical consenter;

  •   document, if applicable, on the IMPACT Medical Consent page the person (caregiver or CPS staff) the young adult authorized on his or her Voluntary Extended Foster Care Agreement (VEFCA) to facilitate health care or access his or her Health Passport as the backup medical consenter;

  •   ensure that caregivers and health care providers are aware that the young adult is his or her own medical consenter;

  •   contact the developmental disability specialist assigned to the region if there is a concern that the young adult may not have the capacity to consent to his or her own medical care and needs a legal guardian.

10443 Ownership of the Youth Transition Portfolio: Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

If the youth enters into an extended foster care placement, the youth is the primary owner of the youth’s transition portfolio and is responsible for maintaining and updating the portfolio with the most current information as he or she moves towards independence.

Within 90 days before the date the youth leaves extended foster care and during the review of the youth’s transition plan, the caseworker must review the contents of the portfolio to ensure that all of the records, documents, and other important information are current and in order.

10444 Sealed Juvenile Justice Records

CPS October 2017

If the young adult has juvenile justice records that have been sealed by the court, information about those records must not be released.

Texas Family Code Chapter 58

The court automatically seals records about delinquent conduct for misdemeanor adjudications and conduct in need of supervision, if the person is at least 19 years of age and meets certain other qualifications. Consult with the regional attorney or juvenile justice liaison if needed.

10450 If the Young Adult Goes Missing

CPS October 2017

Young adults are free to go where they want and can leave care at any time. If there is any reason to suspect foul play, the young adult goes missing under uncharacteristic circumstances, or the young adult has disabilities that would make him or her vulnerable, CPS staff must follow policy in 6460 When a Child or Youth is Missing from DFPS Conservatorship.

10460 Supervised Independent Living (SIL)

10461 Overview and Purpose of SIL

CPS October 2017

Supervised independent living (SIL) placement settings are living arrangements offered through the Extended Foster Care program. They allow young adults to reside in a less restrictive, non-traditional foster care setting while continuing to receive casework and support services to become independent and self-sufficient. See the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide for types of SIL settings.

Placement into SIL settings may be limited based on DFPS funding, SIL provider vacancies and the SIL provider’s acceptance criteria.

Young adults placed in SIL settings have minimal supervision and case management from the SIL provider. This arrangement allows young adults to experience living independently, practice necessary independent living skills and achieve self-sufficiency in a supportive environment before leaving foster care.

The young adult must be able to demonstrate a reasonable level of maturity and ability to manage the expectations required in a supervised independent living (SIL) setting with minimal supervision and case management. In the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide see Rights and Responsibilities of Young Adults While in a SIL Setting.

10462 Eligibility for Supervised Independent Living (SIL) Placements

CPS October 2017

DFPS must only place in a supervised independent living (SIL) setting those young adults determined eligible for the Extended Foster Care program. Qualifications for Extended Foster Care eligibility are described in 10420 Qualifying for Extended Foster Care. DFPS must remove from paid SIL living arrangements those young adults who are no longer eligible for Extended Foster Care.

10463 Referral, Assessment, and Approval Process for the Supervised Independent Living (SIL) Program

10463.1 Initial Placement Process

CPS October 2017

The caseworker must provide any necessary transportation for the young adult to get to the supervised independent living (SIL) setting, including pre-placement visits. Upon placement with a SIL provider, the caseworker must complete all placement paperwork for the SIL provider. In the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide see Referral, Assessment and Approval Process for SIL Placements.

Within the first 30 days following a SIL placement, the caseworker, young adult and SIL provider must discuss the young adult’s needs. The caseworker must incorporate the identified needs into the service plan, including the young adult’s disaster and safety plan, and obtain the young adult’s signature on the printed plan.

10463.2 Subsequent Placement Process With the Same DFPS SIL Provider

CPS October 2017

Caseworkers may approve a move to a different SIL setting with the same DFPS SIL provider. There must be a valid reason for the move.

10464 Ongoing Caseworker Duties During SIL Placement

CPS October 2017

While a young adult is in a supervised independent living (SIL) setting, the caseworker must continue to provide case management services as described under 10441 Casework Activity.

10465 Discharge From the SIL Program

CPS October 2017

A SIL placement ends when the young adult

  •   leaves one DFPS SIL provider for another SIL provider;

  •   returns to a traditional Extended Foster Care placement;

  •   leaves care and starts a trial independence period (or independence period, if age 21); or

  •   is no longer eligible for Extended Foster Care.

All SIL discharges must be planned, with sufficient time to prepare for the SIL discharge. Unplanned discharges are considered to be emergency SIL discharges. The SIL provider and caseworker must take all reasonable steps to prevent emergency discharges from the SIL setting.

In the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide see Discharges from the SIL Program.

10470 Discharge From Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

As a voluntary program, discharge from Extended Foster Care can occur:

  •   when the young adult completes Extended Foster Care goals;

  •   when the young adult loses Extended Foster Care eligibility; or

  •   at the request of DFPS, the foster caregiver, or the young adult.

All discharges are expected to be planned.

In the Extended Foster Care Resource Guide see Discharge from Extended Foster Care.

10471 Planned Discharge From Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

A planned discharge occurs when the young adult is due to complete goals for participation in Extended Foster Care or eligibility for Extended Foster Care is scheduled to end.

Within 90 days before the planned date of discharge, the caseworker must schedule a Transition Plan Review with the young adult and foster caregiver. The caseworker must document this meeting in IMPACT under Permanency Planning Meetings as either a Circle of Support or a Transition Plan Meeting.

At the Transition Plan Review, the caseworker must ensure that the young adult has all personal records and documents including:

  •   a birth certificate

  •   a Social Security card

  •   a Texas identification card

  •   savings account information

  •   a Medicaid card

  •   education records and Transition Portfolios

  •   printed medical records from Health Passport.

Texas Family Code §264.121

10472 Emergency Discharge From Extended Foster Care

CPS October 2017

An emergency discharge occurs when:

  •   the young adult’s behavior or noncompliance results in the foster caregiver setting a discharge date, and another foster care placement cannot be found; or

  •   the young adult leaves the placement before the planned end date.

After receiving notification of a young adult’s placement discharge that will result in a discharge from Extended Foster Care, the caseworker must attempt to make contact with the young adult and foster caregiver within 24 hours, to discuss the emergency discharge and if there are alternatives that can be explored first.

If no other alternatives can be found, the caseworker must review the Transition Plan with the young adult, to the best of the caseworker’s ability under the situation.

10473 Discharge to Trial Independence

CPS October 2017

Trial independence begins when the young adult leaves the foster care placement and is not continuing in Extended Foster Care. The substitute care (SUB) stage must be left open during the trial independence period. See 10500 Trial Independence and Return for Extended Foster Care for additional details. PAL staff or the regional re-entry staff for the region may also be sources of information.

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