Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 - Arizona

Date:

Availability of Foster Care to Age 21

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-521.01; Admin. Code §§ R21-5-205; R21-5-207

The Department of Child Safety (DCS) may establish a transitional independent living program (TILP) for persons who meet the following qualifications:

  • The person is under age 21.
  • The person was the subject of a dependency petition, adjudicated dependent, or placed voluntarily pursuant to § 8-806.

DCS shall provide care and services that complement the person's own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and to accept personal responsibility for preparing for and making the transition to adulthood. The care and services provided shall be based on an individualized written agreement between the department and the person.

In regulation: DCS may provide out-of-home care services and supervision to a youth in foster care who is younger than age 21, who reached age 18 while in the custody of DCS, and was either in out-of-home care or in secure care through a delinquency action when the youth in foster care meets the following criteria:

  • Requests out-of-home care
  • Has residency in the State of Arizona
  • Participates in developing an individual case plan agreement for out-of-home care
  • Demonstrates acceptance of personal responsibility for their part of the agreement through active participation in the individual case plan

DCS shall facilitate reentry into out-of-home care for eligible youth participating in the TILP. An eligible youth may request to postpone reentry, decline reentry at any time, or re-initiate the request any time prior to the eligible youth's 21st birthday.

Requirements for Remaining in Placement

Citation: Admin. Code § R21-5-205; DCS Pol. Man. Ch. 5, §§ 32; 36

Youth participating in out-of-home care shall demonstrate acceptance of personal responsibility by actively participating in an individual case plan unless prevented by a documented behavioral health or medical condition; other personal crisis or life event, such as pregnancy, birth, or necessary maternity leave as determined by a medical professional; or adoption or guardianship of a child.

In policy: DCS may provide out-of-home care services and supervision to an eligible qualified young adult who reached age 18 while in the custody of DCS as a dependent child, when the young adult meets the following criteria:

  • Is age 18, 19, or 20
  • Is a resident of Arizona
  • Has signed a voluntary extended foster care agreement
  • Resides in a supervised living arrangement approved by DCS
  • Has an individualized case plan that outlines the activities the young adult identifies as necessary to aid in the successful transition to adulthood and the supportive services DCS will provide the young adult to work toward the identified goals
  • Fulfills in one or more of the following:
    • Is completing secondary education or an educational program leading to a GED or is enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary or vocational education
    • Is employed at least 80 hours a month
    • Is participating in a program or activity that promotes employment or removes barriers to employment
    • Is unable to be a full-time student or employed because of a documented medical condition

A qualified young adult is eligible to reenter extended foster care when the young adult meets the following criteria:

  • Is age 18, 19, or 20
  • Is a legal resident of Arizona and residing in the State
  • At the time of their 18th birthday, was in the Arizona State foster care system (in out-of-home care) or in secure care through a delinquency action
  • Is actively participating in TILP services as demonstrated by a completed and signed TILP application and benefits agreement and a completed and signed individual service plan

Placement Agreements

Citation: Admin. Code §§ R21-5-205; R21-5-207; DCS Pol. Man. Ch. 5, § 32

The youth, caseworker, and involved service team members shall develop the individual case plan for out-of-home care within the following timeframes:

  • Within the 90-day period prior to the youth's 18th birthday for youth continuing in out-of-home care past age 18
  • Within 10 workdays for youth who enter out-of-home care during the 90-day period prior to the youth's 18th birthday
  • For eligible youth reentering foster care at age 18 or older, within 7 workdays of the eligible youth's return to DCS care and supervision

The individual case plan shall outline the services and supports to be provided, including at least one of the following activities:

  • Completion of secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential
  • Enrollment in an institution that provides postsecondary education or vocational education
  • Participation in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment
  • Employment of at least 80 hours per month

DCS shall facilitate reentry into out-of-home care for eligible youth participating in the TILP. On request for reentry by the eligible youth, DCS shall confirm the eligible youth's request to receive out-of-home care, supervision, and other services with the youth and within 10 workdays do the following:

  • Facilitate a meeting with the eligible youth to review the requirements of R21-5-205
  • Assist the eligible youth to develop an individual case plan that includes an effective date for reopening the DCS case
  • Identify the name and contact information of the caseworker or responsible agency staff assigned to the case
  • Identify the out-of-home care type selected, such as foster home, residential group care facility, independent living program, or other arrangement
  • Notify the identified caseworker or responsible agency staff assigned to the case
  • Complete all necessary authorizations for out-of-home care and other services

In policy: The caseworker shall facilitate the development of a case plan that reflects the young adult's personal goals and clearly document those services and supports necessary to assist the young adult to achieve positive outcomes, including permanent connections with supportive adults.

Transition Supports Provided

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-521.01; DCS Pol. Man. Ch. 5, §§ 32; 33

Care and services may be provided as follows:

  • If the person was in out-of-home placement or in the independent living program when the person became age 18, the department may provide out-of-home placement, independent living, or other transitional living support services.
  • If the person was in out-of-home placement in the custody of the department, a licensed child welfare agency, or a Tribal child welfare agency while the person was age 16, 17, or 18, the department may provide transitional living support services.

In policy: DCS shall assist the young adult in identifying a supervised independent living arrangement. The living arrangement must be acceptable to both DCS and the young adult. Options for a living arrangement may include the following:

  • A foster home
  • A DCS-contracted group home
  • A supervised independent living arrangement that allows the young adult to live independently while under DCS supervision, including any of the following:
    • An apartment
    • Shared housing
    • A relative's home
    • College and noncollege dorm settings
    • A host home
    • Other approved living environment

Upon approval of the case plan for continued care, DCS may provide services that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cost of care (including an independent living subsidy for young adults who qualify)
  • Allowances
  • Medical and dental services
  • Transportation
  • Counseling
  • Independent living skills training
  • Other transitional support services

The independent living subsidy is available to qualified young adults who are residents of Arizona and have signed a voluntary agreement for continued care after age 18 but may not extend past the young adult's 21st birthday. In determining eligibility for a subsidy, DCS shall not discriminate based on the youth's race, national origin, or ethnicity; religious or spiritual beliefs; gender or gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation; child-bearing or parenting status; or for youth aged 18 and older, marital status.