Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 - Alaska

Date:

Availability of Foster Care to Age 21

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 47.10.080

For a child in the custody of the Department of Health and Social Services, the court may order the following:

  • One-year extensions of commitment that do not extend beyond the child's 19th birthday if the extension is in the best interests of the child
  • Additional 1-year extensions of commitment past age 19 that do not extend beyond the person's 21st birthday if the continued State custody is in the best interests of the person and the person consents to it

In addition to extensions of State custody, a court may grant in a hearing a resumption of State custody that does not extend beyond a person's 21st birthday if the following apply:

  • The person consents to it.
  • The person was placed in out-of-home care by the department immediately before being released from State custody, and the person was either of the following:
    • At least age 18 and released to the person's own custody
    • At least age 16 and released to the person's own custody after the disabilities of minority were removed under § 09.55.590 or released to the custody of a parent or guardian because the person refused out-of-home care
  • The person needs of out-of-home care due to any of the following:
    • To avoid personal harm
    • Because of the person's severe emotional disturbance, mental disability, physical disability, homelessness, or a combination of those conditions
    • Because the person is completing an educational or vocational program
    • To otherwise improve the person's successful transition to independent living

Requirements for Remaining in Placement

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 7, § 53.400

A petition for resumption of custody may be submitted to the court for a person who is no longer in State custody if the following apply:

  • The department placed the person in out-of-home care immediately before the person was released from State custody.
  • If any of the following apply:
    • The person was released to the person's own custody after reaching age 18 and consents to resumption of custody.
    • The person was at least age 16 and was released to the person's own custody after the disabilities of minority were removed and they consent to resumption of custody.
    • The person was at least age 16 and released to the custody of a parent or guardian because the person refused out-of-home care, has reached age 18, and consents to resumption of custody.
    • The person was at least age 16 and released to the custody of a parent or guardian because the person refused out-of-home care, has not reached age 18, and consents to resumption of custody and if grounds for filing a child-in-need-of-aid petition do not exist.
  • The person meets the requirements of Alaska Stat. § 47.10.080(v)(3).
  • The person signs a custody resumption agreement that the department has prepared and that includes a provision that the person agrees to actively participate in developing the transition plan and services designed to promote self-sufficiency.

A person is not eligible for resumption of State custody if any of the following applies to that person:

  • Is married
  • Does not reside in this State
  • Fails to comply with requirements of probation or parole, if any
  • Is in or enters active duty in the military
  • Has previously resumed State custody after reaching age 18
  • Refuses to sign the custody resumption agreement

Placement Agreements

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 47.10.080

If requested by the department, the person requesting a resumption of State custody must agree to reasonable terms for resuming State custody that may include matters relating to the person's education, attainment of a job or life skills, or other terms found by the court to be reasonable and in the person's best interests.

Transition Supports Provided

Citation: Alaska Stat. §§ 47.18.300; 47.18.320; Admin. Code Tit. 7, § 53.350

The department, in coordination with local public and private agencies, shall design, develop, and implement a foster care transition program to provide support and services to individuals to whom the following apply:

  • They reach or have reached age 16 or older while in State foster care and have not yet reached age 23.
  • They meet other eligibility criteria established by the department.

Subject to the availability of funding, the program may provide the following:

  • Education and vocational training
  • Assistance in obtaining basic education and training
  • Career and employment services
  • Training in basic life skills
  • Housing and utility assistance
  • Mentoring and counseling
  • Other appropriate services to complement the efforts of former State foster care recipients to achieve self-sufficiency

In regulation: To successfully facilitate the transition of adolescents from the out-of-home care system to independent living, the following services will be authorized, if funding is available and if consistent with the child's placement plan or case plan, before the department releases of custody of the child:

  • Counseling and referral to community support networks, where available, to assist the youth in preparation for emancipation, in areas such as the following:
    • Self-esteem
    • Basic living skills
    • Employability
  • Financial assistance for housing up to 100 percent of the foster care rate
  • The services or goods described in 7 AAC 53.310 (clothing), 7 AAC 53.320 (medical, dental, diagnostic, and therapeutic services), and 7 AAC 53.330 (one-time item money to cover items such as bedding, special events costs, or costs for preplacement visitation and travel)