Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 - Massachusetts

Date:

Availability of Foster Care to Age 21

Citation: Ann. Laws, Ch. 119, § 23; Code of Regs. Tit. 110, § 8.02

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) shall offer to continue its responsibility to any young adult who is under the custody, care, or responsibility of DCF, including, but not limited to, those persons who meet any of the criteria set forth in 42 USC § 675(8)(B)(iv). If, after termination, the person requests that DCF renew its responsibility therefor, DCF shall make every reasonable attempt to provide a program of support that is acceptable to the person and that permits DCF to renew its responsibility.

In regulation: DCF is committed to assisting older adolescents and young adults in their transition to independence and self-sufficiency.

Requirements for Remaining in Placement

Citation: Ann. Laws, Ch. 119, § 23

DCF shall continue its responsibility to any young adult who meets any of the criteria set forth in 42 USC § 675(8)(B)(iv). To meet the criteria, the person must meet one the following criteria:

  • Completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential
  • Enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary or vocational education
  • Participating in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment
  • Employed for at least 80 hours per month
  • Incapable of doing any of the preceding activities due to a medical condition, which is supported by regularly updated information in the case plan of the child

Placement Agreements

Citation: Ann. Laws, Ch. 119, § 23

DCF's continued responsibility for such persons is contingent upon the express written consent of the person. The purposes and conditions of such responsibility may be reviewed and revised or terminated by either the person or DCF.

Transition Supports Provided

Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 119, §§ 23; 29B

DCF shall continue its responsibility to any young adult who is under the custody, care, or responsibility of DCF, as follows:

  • For the purposes of specific educational or rehabilitative programs
  • To promote and support that person in fully developing and fulfilling that person's potential to be a participating citizen of the Commonwealth

If a person in the custody of or under the responsibility of DCF has reached age 17 years and 9 months, the permanency plan also shall address the status of and the topics of the transition plan required under 42 USC § 675(5)(H) and, as such, must include the following:

  • Specific options on housing, health insurance, and education
  • Local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services
  • Workforce supports and employment services
  • Information about the importance of designating another individual to make health-care treatment decisions on behalf of the child if the child becomes unable to participate in such decisions and the child does not have, or does not want, a relative who would otherwise be authorized under State law to make such decisions
  • The option to execute a health-care power-of-attorney, health-care proxy, or other similar document recognized under State law

The court shall retain jurisdiction until it finds, after a hearing at which the person is present unless the person chooses otherwise, that a satisfactory transition plan has been provided for the person.