Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 - Illinois

Date: March 2022

Availability of Foster Care to Age 21

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 705, §§ 405/2-31; 405/2-33

All proceedings under article II of this act with respect to any minor automatically terminate upon their reaching age 21.

Whenever the court determines that the health, safety, and best interests of the minor no longer require the wardship of the court, the court shall order the wardship terminated and all proceedings respecting that minor finally closed and discharged. When terminating wardship under this section, if the minor is older than age 18 or if wardship is terminated in conjunction with an order partially or completely emancipating the minor, the court shall also consider the following factors, in addition to the health, safety, and best interests of the minor and the public:

  • The minor's wishes regarding case closure
  • The manner in which the minor will maintain independence without services from the Department of Children and Family Services
  • The minor's engagement in services, including placement offered by the department
  • If the minor is not engaged, the department's efforts to engage the minor
  • The nature of communication between the minor and the department
  • The minor's involvement in other State systems or services
  • The minor's connections with family and other community supports
  • Any other factor the court deems relevant

The minor's lack of cooperation with services provided by the department shall not by itself be considered sufficient evidence that the minor is prepared to live independently and that it is in the best interests of the minor to terminate wardship.

Any time prior to a minor's 21st birthday, pursuant to a supplemental petition filed under this section, the court may reinstate wardship and open a previously closed case when the following apply:

  • Wardship and guardianship was vacated pursuant to any of the following:
    • An order entered, under chapter 705, § 405/2-31(2), in the case of a minor older than age 18
    • Closure of a case in the case of a minor younger than age 18 who has been partially or completely emancipated
    • An order entered under chapter 705, § 405/2-31(3) based on the minor reaching age 19
  • The minor is not presently a ward of the court, and there is not a petition for adjudication of wardship pending on behalf of the minor.
  • It is in the minor's best interests that wardship be reinstated.

Whenever a minor is committed to the department for care and services following the reinstatement of wardship, the department shall do the following:

  • Within 30 days of such commitment, prepare and file with the court a case plan that complies with the Federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. § 602, et seq.) and is consistent with the health, safety, and best interests of the minor
  • Promptly refer the minor for such services that are necessary and consistent with the minor's health, safety, and best interests

Requirements for Remaining in Placement

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 302.40

The department shall provide services to youth for whom it is legally responsible and who meet the following criteria:

  • Are age 16 or older
  • Are high school graduates and have been awarded scholarships in accordance with the Children and Family Services Act (Comp. Stat. Ch. 20, § 505)
  • Are unmarried and pregnant

Placement Agreements

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 20, § 505/5(n-1)

The department shall provide or authorize child welfare services, aimed at assisting minors to achieve sustainable self-sufficiency as independent adults, for any minor eligible for the reinstatement of wardship, whether or not such reinstatement is sought or allowed, provided that the minor consents to such services and has not yet reached age 21. Youth participating in services under this section shall cooperate with the assigned case manager in developing an agreement identifying the services to be provided and how the youth will increase skills to achieve self-sufficiency. A homeless shelter is not considered appropriate housing for any youth receiving child welfare services under this section.

The department shall continue child welfare services to any eligible minor until the minor reaches age 21, no longer consents to participate, or achieves self-sufficiency as identified in the minor's service plan. The department shall create clear, readable notice of the rights of youth formerly in foster care to child welfare services and how such services may be obtained.

Transition Supports Provided

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 20, § 505/5(x); Admin. Code Tit. 89, §§ 302.40; 310.2

The department shall conduct annual credit history checks to determine the financial history of children placed under its guardianship. The department shall conduct such credit checks starting when a youth in care reaches age 12 and each year thereafter for the duration of the guardianship. The department shall determine if financial exploitation of the child's personal information has occurred. If financial exploitation appears to have taken place or is presently ongoing, the department shall notify the proper law enforcement agency, the proper State's attorney, or the attorney general.

In regulation: The service constellation for youth for whom the department is legally responsible may include the following:

  • Counseling or advocacy
  • Daycare for the children of unmarried youth
  • Homemaker services
  • Family planning
  • Maintenance payments or foster family home, relative home, or residential care payment, except that maternity home payment shall be limited to a maximum of 90 days

The term 'youth services' includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Community services
  • Outreach and recreational opportunities, including the use of indigenous community volunteers to provide programs designed to correct conditions contributing to delinquency
  • Diversion services, including client advocacy, family counseling, employment, and educational assistance and service brokerage
  • Emergency services, including 24-hour crisis intervention and shelter care
  • Comprehensive independent living services, including the following:
    • Outreach
    • Referral for public assistance or other benefits to which homeless youth may be entitled
    • Emergency shelter care homes
    • Transitional support programs in a residential setting
  • Outward bound experiences
  • Transitional independent living skills support, in a nonresidential facility, with special emphasis on youth employment and training opportunities