Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care - Vermont

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Support for Completing High School

Citation: Code of Rules § 13-172-700; Fam. Serv. Div. Pol., Policy #160

The program for completion of secondary education for youth who reach their 18th birthday while in the custody of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) provides support for eligible youth in completing secondary education and in making a smooth transition to independent living by continuing the case plan and services that were in place when the youth turned age 18.

In policy: High school graduation is an important outcome for youth exiting foster care. For many reasons, including placement changes while in foster care, many youth are not able to graduate high school prior to age 18. An agreement for the completion of secondary education supports youth to remain in care while completing high school and achieving the goals of the case plan. DCF shall provide substitute care payments for the youth in approved living arrangements at the same rate paid before the youth turned age 18. Youth that are over age 18 are legal adults and no longer in DCF custody but are voluntarily choosing to remain in care while pursuing their high school diplomas. If youth choose to stop attending school or following through with other parts of the case plan, caseworkers shall convene a meeting with the youth and team members to determine if the agreement can continue as written, needs modification, or should be terminated. Per regulations, youth who withdraw or are terminated from this program may apply for reentry up to age 23.

Planning for Postsecondary Education

Citation: Fam. Serv. Div. Pol., Policy #160

The Youth Development Program supports youth currently and formerly in foster care with preparing for and entering postsecondary training and educational institutions.

Eligibility Requirements

Citation: Code of Rules § 13-172-700

To be eligible to enter the program for completion of secondary education, a youth must meet the following criteria:

  • Have reached his or her 18th birthday while in the custody of DCF
  • Attend an educational or vocational program
  • Voluntarily consent to participate in the program and sign a voluntary services agreement

To remain eligible for the program, a youth must continue to attend an educational or vocational program by maintaining school attendance and passing grades that will allow for graduation. If the educational or vocational program has been completed, the youth may be involved in a transition plan consistent with productive time requirements for a period not to exceed 6 months.

If the youth has completed the educational program and continues in the transition phase of the program, the youth shall participate in 40 hours per week of productive time, including one or more of the following activities:

  • Postsecondary education
  • Employment
  • Community involvement
  • Job search
  • Therapeutic activities
  • Other activities articulated in the youth's voluntary services agreement

Financial Supports for Postsecondary Programs

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit 16, § 2845

The Board of Directors of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation shall establish a trust fund to be used to provide grants for students who do not have parental support and are or have been under the custody of the DCF commissioner.

A child who is under the custody of the commissioner or a young adult between age 18 and 24 who was under the custody of the commissioner for at least 6 months when that person was between age 16 and 18, and who is accepted for degree study at the Vermont State Colleges, the University of Vermont, or a Vermont independent college, is eligible for an annual grant under this section, to the extent that funds are available in the trust fund.

Upon certification by the Vermont State Colleges, the University of Vermont, or a Vermont independent college that a Vermont resident student who is eligible has matriculated in a degree program at a Vermont college or university, the student may receive a grant if the student's financial aid eligibility leaves remaining financial need following the student and the family contributions, if any, and the availability of all other sources of gift aid. Each grant, together with the student and the family contributions, if any, and all other sources of gift aid, shall not exceed the full cost of tuition, fees, room, and board, and no individual annual grant may exceed $3,000. The board may prorate the funds appropriated for use under this section where the collective need of the eligible applicants exceeds the funds appropriated. In addition, the board may prorate a grant based on a student's full- or part-time enrollment status.

A person may receive a grant for each of up to 6 consecutive years. A young adult who receives a grant prior to reaching age 25 shall continue to be eligible for grants until 6 years from the date of matriculation or until he or she has obtained an undergraduate degree, whichever comes first.