Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 - Nevada

Date:

Availability of Foster Care to Age 21

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 432B.594; Child & Fam. Serv. Pol. Man. § 0802

A court that has jurisdiction over a child in out-of-home care when the child reaches age 18 shall retain jurisdiction over the child if the child so requests. That jurisdiction continues until any of the following occur:

  • The child welfare agency, the child, and the child's attorney agree to terminate the jurisdiction.
  • The court determines the following:
    • The child has achieved the goals set forth in their transitional living plan (TLP).
    • The child is not making a good faith effort to achieve the goals set forth in the TLP.
    • The circumstances of the child have changed in such a manner that it is infeasible for the child to achieve the goals set forth in the TLP.
  • The child requests that jurisdiction be terminated.
  • The child reaches age 21.

Note: This section was amended by legislation that was enacted on June 4, 2021, but the new provisions do not go into effect until January 1, 2024.

In policy: Youth who left foster care after age 18 but are under age 21 and all youth who exit foster care after age 16 and do not reunify with their parents are eligible for referral to independent living (IL) services under the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood program, which includes participation in the Education and Training Voucher program until age 26.

Young persons shall have the opportunity to remain under the jurisdiction of the court beyond age 18 and up to age 21. While under court jurisdiction, these youth formerly in foster care shall be eligible to receive financial support and IL services to assist them with their transition to self-sufficiency. Court jurisdiction is to be looked at as a support or safety net for youth as they make this transition. Good-faith efforts must be made by the child welfare agency to engage the youth formerly in foster care and assist with the transition. Court jurisdiction is intended to provide youth formerly in foster care the opportunity to gain their education and/or vocational skills with minimal hardships.

If the youth indicates that they do not intend to remain under court jurisdiction, the IL worker is to recommend that the court terminate jurisdiction of the child at age 18. The youth may change their mind at any point before reaching age 18 and request that the court take jurisdiction when they reach the age of majority. Youth who have entered into an IL agreement with the child welfare agency prior to age 18 may request to remain under court jurisdiction upon reaching age 18.

A youth may choose to stay in foster care if they are under age 19 and the child is enrolled full time in high school or enrolled full time in a secondary school program or vocational program and can reasonably be expected to complete the course of study prior to their 19th birthday. They may request that the court take jurisdiction over them after they complete their high school education or equivalency.

Requirements for Remaining in Placement

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 432B.595; Child & Fam. Serv. Pol. Man. § 0801.5.5

If the court retains jurisdiction over a child, the child welfare agency shall develop a written plan to assist the child in transitioning to independent living. Such a plan must include, without limitation, the following goals:

  • That the child save enough money to pay for their monthly expenses for at least 3 months
  • If the child has not graduated from high school or obtained a general equivalency diploma (GED), that they remain enrolled in high school or a program to obtain a GED until graduation or completion of the program
  • If the child has graduated from high school or obtained a GED, they will do the following:
    • Enroll in a program of postsecondary or vocational education
    • Enroll or participate in a program or activity designed to promote or remove obstacles to employment
    • Obtain or actively seek employment that is at least 80 hours per month
    • Secure housing
    • Have adequate income to meet their monthly expenses
    • Identify an adult who will be available to provide support to the youth
    • Establish appropriate supportive services to address any mental health or developmental needs, if applicable
    • Have goals that are appropriate for the youth based upon their needs if they are not capable of achieving one or more of the preceding goals

In policy: To be eligible to live under an IL agreement, the youth must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least age 17, unless there is a special circumstance with approval from management
  • Be adjudicated into child welfare custody
  • Be able to 'demonstrate independent living competency,' as determined by the child welfare agency, including, but not limited, to the following:
    • Ability to utilize public transportation
    • Has access to a bank account in their own name and is able to provide a sufficient budget for move-in costs and first month's living expenses until the subsidy check arrives 1 month after program entry
    • Be involved in a full-time educational program or be engaged full time in a combination of education and employment of at least 40 hours per calendar week
    • Demonstrates the ability to maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or higher
    • Can articulate or demonstrate necessary living skills, as determined by the child welfare agency
    • Demonstrate responsible behaviors, personal accountability for choices, and uses appropriate decision-making skills most of the time
    • Able to appropriately identify and differentiate between crisis vs. problem situations and to request and accept assistance, guidance, and support in response to these situations

Placement Agreements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 432B.594; Child & Fam. Serv. Pol. Man. § 0801.5.6(F)

A child who requests that the court retain jurisdiction must, upon reaching age 18, enter into a written agreement with the child welfare agency. The agreement, which must be filed with the court, must include, without limitation, provisions specifying the following:

  • The child voluntarily requested that the court retain jurisdiction.
  • While under the jurisdiction of the court, the child is entitled to continue to receive services from the child welfare agency and to receive monetary payments directly or to have such payments provided to another entity as designated in the TLP in an amount not to exceed the rate of payment for foster care.
  • While under the jurisdiction of the court, the child will no longer be under the legal custody of the child welfare agency, and the proceedings concerning the child conducted pursuant to §§ 432B.410 to 432B.590, inclusive, will terminate.
  • The child may, at any time, request that jurisdiction over the child be terminated.

In policy: An IL agreement outlines the child welfare agency's conduct and reporting expectations that a youth must agree to so that they may safely live independently outside of a licensed foster care placement. An IL agreement permits the youth to directly receive funds for their living expenses in the same amount as the daily rate of foster care. Funds may be directly paid to the youth, paid to a service provider, or some combination therein.

An IL transitional plan identifies both long-term goals and short-term objectives and correlated services to prepare the youth for adulthood, which is completed annually or more frequently. When the IL transitional plan is completed after age 17.5, it also serves as the written plan that addresses both the Federal requirements for transition planning 90 days prior to a youth leaving foster care along with the goals required by State law for youth who choose to remain under court jurisdiction at age 18.

A post-age-18 services agreement is an agreement between the youth who is remaining under court jurisdiction after aging out and the child welfare agency providing courtesy supervision for the court. This agreement identifies the terms and stipulations of the agreement between the youth, the court, and the child welfare agency for continued compliance with State law. The agreement may be adapted from the form template to accommodate individualized youth needs prior to filing with the court.

Transition Supports Provided

Citation: Child & Fam. Serv. Pol. Man. § 0802

Youth who participate in the IL program will be offered the opportunity to do the following:

  • Complete their high school education
  • Engage in career exploration, vocational training, job placement, and retention training
  • Be provided opportunities to practice daily living skills, such as financial literacy or driving instruction

Program participants can be provided specific referrals according to their individual needs, including, but not limited to substance abuse prevention, pregnancy prevention, smoking avoidance programming, and other assistance managing their personal health.

IL services include assessment and referral to appropriate services designed to teach basic life skills and provide opportunities to do the following:

  • Enhance a youth's capacity to make appropriate decisions
  • Form meaningful connections with supportive adults
  • Participate in religious, cultural, and developmentally appropriate activities that reflect what peers in intact families may experience
  • Participate in employment and postsecondary education and training

At case closure, the agency must ensure that the youth has been given their original birth certificate, Social Security card, State driver's license or identification card, any medical or educational records they request, their aged-out letter, and their final court order.

The 'aged-out letter' is a letter produced by the caseworker on agency letterhead that verifies the youth has been involved in the foster care system and is eligible to receive services under § 432.017, Financial Assistance to Foster Youth, the Education and Training Voucher Program, Medicaid, the Fee Waiver for Nevada Foster Youth, and/or any other services funded by the Chafee program.

All youth who age out of foster care are covered by Nevada's Aged-Out Medicaid program. If the youth exited care in another State prior to coming to Nevada, they are eligible to age 21; if the youth exited care in Nevada, they are eligible to age 26.