Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 - Connecticut

Date:

Availability of Foster Care to Age 21

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-11; DCF Pol. Man. § 28-1

Any person already under the care and supervision of the commissioner of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) who has passed such person's 18th birthday but has not yet reached such person's 21st birthday may be permitted to remain voluntarily under the supervision of the commissioner, provided the commissioner, in the commissioner's discretion, determines that such person would benefit from further care and support from DCF. Any person remaining voluntarily under the supervision of the commissioner pursuant to this subsection shall be entitled to a written plan for care and treatment and review of such plan, in accordance with § 17a-15.

In policy: DCF provides adolescents and transitional age youth with necessary supports and opportunities to transition successfully into adulthood. All youth in care age 14 and up are eligible for transitional support and planning efforts.

To continue receiving services, youth who are committed as abused, neglected, or uncared for as of their 18th birthday shall have their current family case closed in the computer system and reopened as a 'services post-majority' (SPM) case.

DCF shall provide a range of transitional living options for youth in care who need to practice their life skills within a supportive instructional environment, including the Supportive Work Education and Transition Program. Transitional living programs primarily offer youth an opportunity to learn and practice independent living skills.

DCF may offer a youth who was committed as of their 18th birthday and subsequently left DCF care the opportunity to reenter the DCF SPM program.

Requirements for Remaining in Placement

Citation: DCF Pol. Man. § 28-1

Youth in SPM cases shall be eligible to receive continued support from DCF if one of the following criteria is met:

  • The youth is completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential.
  • The youth is enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary or vocational education.
  • The youth is participating in a program or activity designed to promote or to remove barriers to employment.

To be eligible for a transitional living program, the youth shall meet the following criteria:

  • Be in DCF out-of-home care
  • Be age 16 and older
  • Be able to function in a residential environment that focuses primarily on the practice and development of independent living skills

Youth shall be ineligible for transitional living program if any of the following apply:

  • They are married.
  • They are on active duty with any of the armed forces of the United States.
  • They are displaying actively psychotic, violent, or assaultive behavior.
  • They have active substance use or behavioral health issues that exceed the level of service offered through the program.

To be eligible for admission to Community Housing Employment Enrichment Resource (CHEER), a youth shall meet the following criteria:

  • Be DCF-committed as abused, neglected, or uncared for at the time of the youth's 18th birthday
  • Have obtained a high school diploma or graduate equivalency diploma (GED)
  • If approaching age 18, have signed a DCF-779, 'Notice at Age of Majority and Agreement for Service Post Majority (SPM),' prior to the youth's 18th birthday indicating their desire to continue receiving services
  • Have successfully completed a DCF-approved life skills program
  • Be motivated to pursue employment training or job readiness services that will lead to gainful employment
  • Participate in activities consistent with job training or job acquisition with the goal number of hours established
  • Have an approved postsecondary employment training plan (CHEER plan) approved by the CHEER coordinator and the area-office adolescent program supervisor
  • Be in good standing in accordance with the standards of the employment program
  • Have a referral packet reviewed and approved by the DCF central office CHEER coordinator
  • Be enrolled prior to age 21

To be eligible for admission to the Community Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), a youth shall meet the following criteria:

  • Be committed as abused, neglected, or uncared for upon the youth's 18th birthday
  • Have obtained a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Have successfully completed a DCF-approved life skills program or are actively participating in such program
  • Have an approved postsecondary education plan or approved CHEER plan
  • Be enrolled and in good standing in an educational or vocational program

Youth may apply for reentry if the youth meets the following criteria:

  • Was DCF-committed as abused, neglected, or uncared for at the time of their 18th birthday
  • Left DCF care after age 18 but before age 23
  • Is not married
  • Is not on active duty with any of the armed forces

Youth who have already participated in two postsecondary educational or employment opportunities are not eligible for reentry.

Placement Agreements

Citation: DCF Pol. Man. § 28-1

Program staff shall develop, in conjunction with the youth and DCF, a service agreement that shall include roles, responsibilities, goals, and timeframes for the youth.

The DCF-2251 (DCF CHAP contract) shall be written by the transitional support specialist (TSS) in conjunction with the youth and signed twice a year as part of the administrative case review process. The contract shall be reviewed quarterly and shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • The agreed-upon place of residence
  • Roles and responsibilities of the youth, DCF, and community case manager, and caregiver
  • A plan for full-time educational, vocational program, or employment program
  • Financial arrangements (e.g., budget, savings)
  • A statement regarding a proposed timeline to attain successful launch to adulthood and review dates to determine progress, including anticipated length of community case management
  • A statement regarding the youth's successful completion in a DCF-approved life skills program or other recommended programming

A DCF-2252 (CHEER contract) shall be written by the TSS and the youth and signed twice a year as part of the administrative case review process. The CHEER contract shall be reviewed quarterly by the youth, the TSS, and the community case manager (if applicable). The CHEER contract shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • The agreed-upon place of residence
  • Roles and responsibilities of the youth, DCF, and community case manager
  • A plan for full-time employment training and employment
  • Financial arrangements (e.g., budget, savings)
  • A statement regarding a proposed timeline to attain self-sufficiency and review dates to determine progress, including anticipated length of community case management
  • A statement regarding the youth's successful completion in a DCF-approved life skills program and other recommended programming
  • A statement regarding actions and adjustments if the youth does not met expectations
  • A statement regarding DCF-approved roommates

If a youth will reside in the home of a DCF-approved relative, friend, or former foster parent, the responsible adult(s) in the home shall sign off on the youth's CHEER contract agreeing to such an arrangement. Roles, rules, and responsibilities of all involved persons shall be identified and agreed to in the youth's CHEER contract and updated on a quarterly basis.

Transition Supports Provided

Citation: DCF Pol. Man. § 21-8

DCF shall provide the following to each youth in care:

  • A free consumer credit report
  • Financial assistance to obtain a driver's license.
  • The tools necessary to achieve self-sufficiency by providing instruction in life skills training, including the following:
    • Daily living and social relationships
    • Self-care
    • Work and study
    • Career planning
    • Community and civic engagement
    • Financial literacy
    • Communication
    • Reproductive health-care counseling consistent with national guidelines

The CHAP program provides financial assistance to youth who demonstrate an interest in and ability to pursue postsecondary education or vocational training. DCF shall offer youth in care several living options coupled with support services to assist with their gradual move toward successful adult living. Housing options include, but are not limited to, individual and shared apartments, boarding arrangements, or on-campus dormitories.

DCF may provide eligible CHAP youth with the following:

  • A one-time apartment deposit not to exceed the first and last month's rent
  • A maximum of $2,000 that must be used for the purchase of furniture
  • A maximum of $500 for the purchase of housewares and household supplies
  • A payment voucher or a direct payment to a vendor not to exceed $100 for the purchase of food staple items

When calculating a youth's monthly subsidy budget, any tuition, and room, and board assistance shall be kept separately. If a youth receives Social Security benefits or any other entitlements, this funding shall be subtracted from the funding limits provided in this policy and shall be considered as part of the overall budget for the youth.

The CHEER program provides financial assistance to youth who demonstrate motivation to pursue a postsecondary employment training and career development program. CHEER may include training for noncertified vocational or technical programs, apprenticeship programs, or job readiness development. CHEER may also provide job placement assistance. CHEER shall provide several living options coupled with support services to assist the youth with a gradual move toward successful adult living. Housing options may include, but are not limited to, individual and shared apartments, boarding arrangements, or onsite living arrangements offered by an employment program.

Upon launch from care, each youth who is over age 18 and has resided in foster care for at least 6 months shall be provided proof of placement in foster care. Upon transition from care, each youth shall be given a copy of the following:

  • Educational records
  • Medical records, including medical history of birth family members, to the extent known and obtained from DCF records and as permitted by law
  • The youth's original birth certificate and Social Security card
  • The youth's passport, if applicable
  • Immigration and citizenship papers

Youth who are approved for reentry may be eligible to participate in appropriate services as determined by DCF. These services include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Referrals to community services
  • Referrals to obtain medical, dental, behavioral health, substance abuse, cognitive, educational, and vocational evaluations
  • Referrals for trauma assessment or treatment
  • Assistance with coordination of services
  • Case management services
  • Assistance with obtaining needed documents
  • Assistance with obtaining medical benefits
  • Financial assistance for secondary or postsecondary educational and vocational programming
  • Assistance with transitioning to community providers