Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 - Indiana

Date:

Availability of Foster Care to Age 21

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-28-5.8-5; Admin. Code Tit. 465, §§ 2-15.1-2; 2-15.1-7; 2-15.1-9

An older youth who received foster care under a court order on the day the individual reaches age 18 is eligible to receive collaborative care services under applicable rules of the Department of Child Services at any time until the individual reaches age 21. An older youth may request the department to petition a juvenile court for approval of a collaborative care agreement under this chapter.

If the governor declares a state of disaster emergency under § 10-14-3-12, the director of the department may allow older youth who are receiving collaborative care services at the time of the declaration to continue to receive collaborative care services for the duration of the state of disaster emergency.

In regulation: A 'collaborative care placement' means the placement of an eligible older youth into foster care, a host home, or a supervised independent living arrangement, regardless of whether payment for the placement is or has been made by the department or any other person or agency.

An 'older youth' is an individual who meets the following criteria:

  • Is at least age 18 and younger than age 20
  • Received foster care on the day the individual turned age 18 under the wardship of the department, a person, or a shelter care facility or under the supervision of the department or a county probation office and in accordance with a court order in a pending child-in-need-of-services case or juvenile delinquency case

A 'reentry youth' is an older youth who meets the following:

  • Meets eligibility requirements
  • Expresses a desire to enter or reenter the collaborative care program
  • Meets one of the following conditions:
    • The older youth's child-in-need-of-services, juvenile delinquency, or juvenile status case closed on or after the date the youth reached age 18, and the older youth did not immediately enter into a collaborative care agreement upon that case closure.
    • The older youth's collaborative care case opened and closed prior to the youth reaching age 20, and the older youth executes a second or subsequent voluntary collaborative care agreement.

Requirements for Remaining in Placement

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-28-5.8-5; Admin. Code Tit. 465, §§ 2-14-4; 2-15.1-11

A court may grant a petition for collaborative care if the court finds that the following apply to the older youth:

  • Is employed
  • Is attending school or a vocational or educational certification or degree program
  • Is participating in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment
  • Is incapable of performing any of the preceding activities due to a medical condition documented by regularly updated information in the older youth's current case plan

A child who is at least age 17 years and 6 months, is receiving foster care under a court order, and expects to be eligible for collaborative care when the child becomes an older youth may request the department to start the process of planning for collaborative care.

In regulation: An 'eligible youth' is an individual who meets the following criteria:

  • Has reached or will reach age 18 or will become emancipated by order of a juvenile court while receiving foster care
  • Is receiving collaborative care for older youth

The term includes an individual who meets the following criteria:

  • Is older than age 16 and younger than age 21
  • Has received foster care after reaching age 16
  • Is the subject of a juvenile court case under chapter 31-34 or 31-37 that is open within 90 days before the youth will reach age 18

An older youth is eligible under the collaborative care program for assistance with the costs of an approved placement or housing arrangement and older youth services if the following apply to the older youth on a continuing basis:

  • Is a bona fide resident of Indiana
  • Is participating in any of the following situations:
    • Employed for at least 80 hours per month
    • Attending secondary school, postsecondary school, or a vocational or educational certification or degree program
    • Participating in a program or activity designed to either promote employment or remove barriers to employment
    • Is incapable of performing any of the preceding activities due to a medical condition documented by regularly updated information in the older youth's current case plan

The department may file the petition specified in § 31-28-5.8-5 when the following apply:

  • The older youth has requested the department to seek court approval of a voluntary collaborative care agreement.
  • The department determines that the older youth is eligible for collaborative care under this rule.

Placement Agreements

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-28-5.8-1; 31-28-5.8-2; 31-28-5.8-4; Admin. Code Tit. 465, § 2-15.1-10

The term 'collaborative care' means any services or payments for services that the Department of Child Services provides for older youth under the terms of a collaborative care agreement while the older youth is residing in any of the following:

  • A licensed foster family home
  • An approved host home under an agreement with the youth
  • A licensed child-caring institution or group home
  • An approved supervised independent living arrangement

A 'collaborative care agreement' is a voluntary agreement to which the following apply:

  • It is signed by the department, the youth's guardian ad litem (GAL) or court-appointed special advocate (CASA), and the youth.
  • It is approved by a juvenile court.
  • It includes provisions required by the department's rules concerning collaborative care services.
  • It may be amended by agreement between the department, the youth's GAL or CASA, and the youth without review or approval by the court.

The term 'older youth' means an individual who is at least age 18 but younger than age 21.

In regulation: The term 'voluntary collaborative care agreement' means a written agreement executed between an older youth and the department that includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The terms and conditions of participation
  • A housing arrangement or placement approved by the department
  • Program eligibility criteria
  • The youth's choice regarding appointment of a CASA or GAL
  • Collaborative care court requirements and expectations
  • The process and basis for termination of the agreement
  • The rules of conduct for youth participating in the program
  • The effective date of the youth's entry into the program

Transition Supports Provided

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-25-2-21; 31-9-2-123.5; Admin. Code Tit. 465, §§ 2-14-6; 2-15.1-12

The transitional services plan provides the eligible youth with information concerning the following:

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Health care, including information concerning the individual's eligibility and participation in the Medicaid program
  • Development of problem-solving skills
  • Available local, State, and Federal financial assistance

A transitional services plan shall contain the following:

  • A document that describes the following:
    • The rights of the individual with respect to education, health, visitation, and court participation
    • The right of the individual to be provided with their medical documents and any other medical information
    • The right to stay safe and avoid exploitation
  • A signed acknowledgment by the individual regarding the following:
    • That the individual has been provided with a copy of the preceding document
    • That the rights contained in that document have been explained to the individual in an age-appropriate manner

The department shall include, as part of the transitional services plan for an individual, the enrollment of the individual in the Medicaid program.

The term 'successful adulthood services' means services for youth that are designed to assist youth who will age out of foster care with the skills and abilities necessary or desirable to be self-reliant, including housing and educational support, career exploration, vocational training, job placement and support, daily living skills, budgeting and financial management skills, substance abuse prevention, preventative health activities, and counseling.

In regulation: 'Successful adulthood services' shall include the following:

  • A comprehensive, written independent living assessment of the youth's strengths and needs required to enable the youth to be self-supporting and to live independently in a self-sufficient manner
  • All services needed to implement a transitional services plan for the eligible youth

'Successful adulthood services' may include any of the following kinds of services that are intended to prepare the youth for self-support and living arrangements that are self-sufficient and not subject to supervision by another individual or institution:

  • Arrangements for and management of a transitional living placement for a youth who is age 17 years and 6 months or older, if appropriate
  • Activities of daily living and social skills training
  • Opportunities for social, cultural, recreational, or spiritual activities that are designed to expand life experiences in a manner appropriate to the youth's cultural heritage and needs and any other special needs
  • Matching of a youth on a voluntary basis with caring adults to act as mentors and assist the youth to establish lifelong connections with caring adults
  • Any other services that are eligible for Federal financial assistance through the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (42 U.S.C. 677)

Upon completion of a voluntary collaborative care agreement, the department will provide placement in one of the living arrangements set out in the agreement and provide information about services available through the program that will benefit the youth.