Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 - Iowa

Date:

Availability of Foster Care to Age 21

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 234.46

The Division of Child and Family Services shall establish a preparation-for-adult-living program directed to young adults. The purpose of the program is to assist persons who are leaving foster care and other court-ordered services at age 18 or older in making the transition to self-sufficiency. The Department of Human Services shall adopt rules necessary for administration of the program, including, but not limited to, eligibility criteria for young adult participation and the services and other support available under the program. The rules shall provide for participation of each person who meets the definition of young adult on the same basis, regardless of whether Federal financial participation is provided.

Requirements for Remaining in Placement

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 234.1; 234.46; Admin. Code § 441-202.9

The term 'child' means either a person younger than age 18 or a person age 18 or 19 who meets any of the following conditions:

  • Is in full-time attendance at an accredited school pursuing a course of study leading to a high school diploma
  • Is attending an instructional program leading to a high school equivalency diploma
  • Has been identified by the director of special education of the area education agency as a child requiring special education

A person older than age 18 who has received a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma is not a 'child' within the definition in this subsection.

For the purposes of the preparation for an adult living program, a 'young adult' is a person who is described by all the following conditions:

  • The person is a resident of this State.
  • The person is age 18, 19, 20, 21, or 22.
  • At the time the person reached age 18, the person received foster care services that were paid for by the State under § 234.35, services at a State training school, services at a juvenile shelter care home, services at a juvenile detention home, or court-ordered care in accordance with chapter 232 by a relative or another person with a significant relationship with the person and the person is no longer receiving such services.
  • The person participates in an individual self-sufficiency plan that complements the person's own efforts for achieving self-sufficiency, and the plan provides for one or more of the following:
    • The person attends an accredited school full time pursuing a course of study leading to a high school diploma.
    • The person attends an instructional program leading to a high school equivalency diploma.
    • The person is enrolled in or pursuing enrollment in a postsecondary education or training program or work training.
    • The person is employed or seeking employment.

In regulation: For participation in supervised apartment living, the youth who is age 18 or older must meet the following criteria:

  • Meets the definition of 'child' in Iowa Code § 234.1
  • Has been in foster care immediately before reaching age 18 and have continued in foster care since reaching the age of 18
  • Attends school on a full-time basis leading to a high school diploma or attends an instructional program leading to a high school equivalency diploma

The youth also must comply with the following:

  • Needs foster care placement and services based on an assessment completed according to rules 441-202.2 and 441-202.6(5)
  • Participates in services and activities to achieve self-sufficiency
  • Has an approved living situation that meets the following minimum standards:
    • Complies with applicable State and local zoning, fire, sanitary, and safety regulations
    • Provides reasonably convenient access to schools, places of employment, and services and supports required by the youth
    • Is reasonably priced to fit within the youth's budget

The youth must have the capacity to live in the community with less supervision than that provided by a foster family or in a group care setting, as determined by an assessment that reviews available information on the youth to identify the needs, strengths, and resources of the youth, especially as they pertain to the youth's ability to function in the community.

Placement Agreements

Citation: Admin. Code § 441-202.3

Voluntary placement of a youth age 18 or older may be granted for 6 months at a time. The department shall enter into the agreement only when following apply to the youth:

  • Was in foster care or a State institution immediately before reaching age 18
  • Has continued in foster care or a State institution since reaching age 18
  • Has demonstrated a willingness to participate in case planning and to fulfill responsibilities as defined in the case permanency plan
  • Will be placed in foster family care or supervised apartment living in Iowa

When the voluntary placement is of a youth who is age 18 or older and who has a court-ordered guardian, the Voluntary Foster Care Placement Agreement, Form 470-0715, shall be completed and signed by the guardian and the local office where the guardian resides. Voluntary Foster Care Placement Agreements shall not be signed with guardians who reside outside Iowa. Voluntary Foster Care Placement Agreements shall terminate if the youth's guardian moves outside Iowa after the placement.

When the voluntary placement is of a youth who is age 18 or older and who does not have a court-appointed guardian, the Voluntary Foster Care Placement Agreement, Form 470-0715, shall be completed and signed by the youth and the local office where the youth resides.

An exception to the requirement for continuous placement may be made for a youth who leaves foster care at age 18 and voluntarily returns to supervised apartment-living foster care before the youth's 20th birthday to complete high school or obtain a general equivalency diploma.

Transition Supports Provided

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 234.46; Admin. Code § 441-202.9

The services and other support available under the preparation-for-adult-living program may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

  • Support for the young adult to continue residing with the family that provided family foster care to the young adult
  • Support for a supervised apartment-living arrangement
  • Support for participation in education, training, or employment activities
  • Other assistance to enhance the young adult's ability to achieve self-sufficiency

In regulation: A supervised apartment living-arrangement shall provide a youth with an environment in which the youth can experience living in the community with supervision and prepare for self-sufficiency. The youth must have the capacity to live in the community with less supervision than that provided by a foster family or in a group care setting and must be able to follow the provisions of the case plan and participate in activities and services to achieve self-sufficiency.

The two types of supervised apartment-living arrangements are as follows:

  • A cluster setting that provides support for up six youth who reside in apartments or bedrooms in one building (such as an apartment building or residential housing), which must have an adult staff member present and available onsite in the living arrangement at any time when more than one youth is present
  • A scattered-site setting in which up to three youth supervised by one agency may reside in individual housing arrangements, such as apartments or residential housing, located in one building

To ensure that the supervised apartment-living arrangement is meeting the youth's needs, required services shall be provided directly by the department or purchased from an agency that has a contract with the department to provide supervised apartment living foster care services. The following services are required:

  • Development of a case or service plan (by either the department worker or the service provider, if contracted out) in consultation with the youth and the youth's family (unless a reason for noninvolvement is documented in the case record) and significant others whenever appropriate that documents the following:
    • Goals intended to meet the specific needs of the youth to achieve self-sufficiency, with projected dates of accomplishment
    • Objectives (action steps) to be taken by the youth, the youth's support system, and staff, with projected dates of accomplishment
    • Services to be provided and activities to be undertaken, the frequency of such services, who will provide the services, the youth's progress with the goals and objectives, and the youth's compliance with the service plan
    • A budget, developed with the youth, based upon the youth's monthly maintenance payment, any start-up allowance, any earned or unearned incomes, and financially related assistance (e.g., food assistance)
  • Life skills training involving interpersonal and daily living skills training to prepare the youth to maintain a safe, healthy, and stable lifestyle and achieve self-sufficiency

Life skills training includes the following:

  • Training of 'hard' skills, such as money management, self-care and hygiene, physical and mental health care, skills related to educational and employment goals, housing and home management, time management, and accessing community resources
  • Training of 'soft' skills, such as decision-making, problem-solving, developing healthy relationships, and self-advocacy

Life skills training should be individualized to the needs of the youth toward achieving self-sufficiency.