Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care - Florida

Date:

Support for Completing High School

Citation: Pol. & Proc. Man., CFOP 170-17

Transitional services may include academic support. These services are designed to help a youth complete high school or obtain a general educational development (GED) diploma. Such services include the following:

  • Academic counseling
  • Preparation for a GED, including assistance for or studying for the GED exam
  • Tutoring, help with homework, and study skills training
  • Literacy training
  • Help accessing educational resources

Academic support does not include a youth's general attendance in school.

Planning for Postsecondary Education

Citation: Pol. & Proc. Man., CFOP 170-17; Ann. Stat. § 409.1452

Transitional services may include postsecondary educational support that is provided through services designed to help a youth enter or complete a postsecondary education program and may include the following:

  • Classes for test preparation, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test
  • Counseling about college
  • Information about financial aid and scholarships
  • Help completing college or loan applications
  • Tutoring while in college

In statute: Effective July 1, 2013, the Department of Children and Families shall work in collaboration with the Board of Governors, the Florida College System, and the Department of Education to help address the need for a comprehensive support structure in the academic arena to assist children and young adults who have been or continue to remain in the foster care system in making the transition from a structured care system into an independent living setting. The State University System of Florida and the Florida College System shall provide postsecondary educational campus coaching positions that will be integrated into Florida College System institutions' and university institutions' general support services structure to provide children and youth adults currently or formerly in foster care with dedicated, on-campus support.

Eligibility Requirements

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 409.1451

A young adult is eligible for postsecondary education services and support under the Road-to-Independence program if he or she meets the following requirements:

  • Was living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday or is currently living in licensed care; or was at least 16 years of age and was adopted 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
  • Spent at least 6 months in licensed care before reaching his or her 18th birthday
  • Earned a standard high school diploma
  • Has been admitted for enrollment as a full-time student or its equivalent in an eligible postsecondary educational institution
  • Has reached age 18 years of age but is not yet age 23
  • Has applied, with assistance from the young adult's caregiver and the community-based lead agency, for any other grants and scholarships for which he or she may qualify
  • Submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is complete and error free
  • Signed an agreement to allow the department and the community-based care lead agency access to school records

In order to be eligible for a renewal award for the subsequent year, the young adult must do the following:

  • Be enrolled for or have completed the number of hours, or the equivalent, to be considered a full-time student
  • Maintain standards of academic progress, as defined by the education institution, except that if the young adult's progress is insufficient to renew the award at any time during the eligibility period, the young adult may continue to be enrolled for additional terms while attempting to restore eligibility as long as progress towards the required level is maintained

Financial Supports for Postsecondary Programs

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 1009.25; 409.1451

The following students are exempt from the payment of tuition and fees, including lab fees, at a school district that provides workforce education programs, Florida College System institution, or State university:

  • A student who is or was in the custody of the Department of Children and Families at the time he or she reached age 18 or who, after spending at least 6 months in the custody of the department after reaching age 16, was placed in a guardianship by the court. Such exemption includes fees associated with enrollment in applied academics for adult education instruction. The exemption remains valid until the student reaches age 28.
  • A student who is or was at the time he or she reached age 18 in the custody of a relative or nonrelative or who was adopted from the department after May 5, 1997. Such exemption includes fees associated with enrollment in applied academics for adult education instruction. The exemption remains valid until the student reaches age 28.

Each Florida College System institution is authorized to grant student fee exemptions from all fees adopted by the State Board of Education and the Florida College System institution board of trustees for up to 54 full-time-equivalent students or 1 percent of the institution's total full-time-equivalent enrollment, whichever is greater, at each institution.

The amount of the financial assistance under the Road-to-Independence program shall be as follows:

  • For a young adult who does not remain in foster care and is attending a postsecondary school, the amount is $1,256 monthly.
  • For a young adult who remains in foster care, is attending a postsecondary school, and continues to reside in a licensed foster home, the amount is the established room and board rate for foster parents.
  • For a young adult who remains in foster care, but temporarily resides away from a licensed foster home for purposes of attending a postsecondary school, the amount is $1,256 monthly.
  • For a young adult who remains in foster care, is attending a postsecondary school, and continues to reside in a licensed group home, the amount is negotiated between the community-based care lead agency and the licensed group-home provider.
  • For a young adult who remains in foster care, but temporarily resides away from a licensed group home for purposes of attending a postsecondary school, the amount is $1,256 monthly. This takes the place of a negotiated room and board rate.

A young adult is eligible to receive financial assistance during the months when he or she is enrolled in a postsecondary educational institution. Payment of financial assistance shall be made as follows:

  • For a young adult who has chosen not to remain in foster care and is attending a postsecondary school, payment shall be made to the community-based care lead agency in order to secure housing and utilities, with the balance being paid directly to the young adult until such time the lead agency and the young adult determine that the young adult can successfully manage the full amount of the assistance.
  • For a young adult who has remained in foster care and who is attending postsecondary school, payment shall be made directly to the foster parent or group home provider.

Financial awards to young adults receiving services may be disregarded for purposes of determining the eligibility for, or the amount of, any other Federal or federally supported assistance for which the department is required to determine eligibility for the program.