Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 - New Mexico

Date: March 2022

Availability of Foster Care to Age 21

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-25.3; Admin. Code §

At the last review or permanency hearing held prior to the child's 18th birthday, the court shall review the transition plan and determine whether the Children, Youth and Families Department has made reasonable efforts to implement the following requirements:

  • Provided the child with written information concerning their family history; the whereabouts of any siblings, if appropriate; and education and health records
  • Provided the child with their Social Security card, certified birth certificate, State-issued identification card, death certificate of a parent, and proof of citizenship or residence
  • Provided the child with assistance in obtaining Medicaid, unless the child is ineligible for Medicaid
  • Made a referral for the child, if the child is incapacitated, for a guardianship or limited guardianship

If the court finds that the department has not made reasonable efforts to meet all the preceding requirements and that termination of jurisdiction would be harmful to the young adult, the court may continue to exercise its jurisdiction for a period not to exceed 1 year from the child's 18th birthday. The young adult must consent to continued jurisdiction of the court. The court may dismiss the case at any time after the child's 18th birthday for good cause.

In regulation: Independent living placement status (ILPS) allows an eligible youth ages 18-21 to become their own vendor to receive monthly maintenance payments. The maintenance payment allows the youth to live as a boarder with a foster parent or to live independently with limited Protective Services Division (PSD) supervision regarding safety and appropriate use of funds.

Requirements for Remaining in Placement

Citation: Admin. Code §§;;

Youth services shall be provided to all youth in the custody of PSD through an abuse or neglect petition or a family in need of court-ordered services petition, including youth in residential treatment or incarcerated youth; runaway youth; and youth with a partial or complete developmental, emotional, or physical disability. Eligibility requirements are specific to services components within the youth services program.

Transition support services shall be provided by or arranged by the youth transition specialist (YTS) for the purpose of preparing and assisting youth in their transition to adulthood. Services begin at the preparation for the transition meeting and may continue until the youth turns age 21. Youth in PSD custody shall be eligible for transition support services. Youth who have aged out of foster care at age 18 and youth ages 18-21 who were adopted after age 16 may request transition support services.

Eligibility criteria for ILPS are as follows:

  • A youth aged 18-21 who has aged out of foster care at age 18 may be eligible for an independent living placement as determined by the YTS with supervisory approval.
  • With the approval of the regional manager and the youth services bureau chief, a youth aged 17 in PSD custody may be eligible for ILPS, with the monthly maintenance payment provided with State general funds.

To assess whether ILPS is appropriate for a youth aged 17, the permanency planning worker (PPW) shall review the independent living assessment and all other relevant information and determine whether the youth meets both of the following criteria:

  • The youth has the basic skills necessary to safely live independently.
  • Sufficient supports are available to the youth while living independently.

The PPW shall prepare a memorandum for the regional manager and youth services bureau chief that discusses the independent living skills assessment, whether ILPS is appropriate for the youth, and the housing the youth will secure.

Eligibility for ILPS is reassessed on a continuing basis and may be revoked at PSD's discretion.

Placement Agreements

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-2; Admin. Code

The 'transition plan' is an individualized written plan for a child based on the unique needs of the child and that outlines all appropriate services to be provided to the child to increase independent living skills. The plan shall also include responsibilities of the child, and any other party as appropriate, to enable the child to be self-sufficient upon emancipation.

In regulation: The written individualized transition plan shall be developed collaboratively with the participants present at the youth transition meeting. The transition plan shall identify a youth's needs; strengths and goals in the areas of safety, housing, education, employment, or income; health and mental health; and local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services. The plan shall identify activities, responsibilities, and timeframes to address the goals specified in the transition plan.

PSD shall present the transition plan to the court at the first hearing scheduled after the child's 17th birthday. The court shall order the transition plan for the child. The transition plan approved by the court shall be reviewed at every subsequent review and permanency hearing.

The YTS shall review and update the youth's transition plan with the youth at least once 1 month prior to the youth's 18th birthday.

Transition Supports Provided

Citation: Admin. Code §§;;;;

Youth services shall do the following:

  • Assist youth in successfully transitioning into adult living
  • Promote self-sufficiency
  • Promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of youth
  • Promote positive youth development
  • Promote relationships with mentors and other supportive adults

Youth services shall be provided to youth in custody, youth who have aged out of foster at age 18, and youth who were adopted from foster care after the age of 16.

Life skills development shall be required for all youth in PSD custody, regardless of permanency plan, beginning no later than age 14. Life skills development is an individualized process of learning the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in living as an adult. It may include, but is not limited to, group learning, taking advantage of teachable moments, individual practice with out-of-home providers, and use of community resources.

The YTS shall assist each youth age 14 and older in obtaining a copy of their credit report at no cost to the youth. This process shall be completed on an annual basis until the youth is discharged from foster care.

Start-up funds shall be available for eligible youth to assist them in purchasing household items or services needed to establish a home or to further independence. Expenses that are eligible for the use of start-up funds are determined according to the standards of the Chafee Act.

Education and training vouchers (ETVs) funds shall be available to eligible youth to assist them in obtaining postsecondary education or vocational training. ETVs may not cover expenses already paid by scholarships, grants, loans, work study, etc. Receipt of ETV funds shall not affect a student's eligibility for other Federal assistance. ETV funds shall be paid to the provider and shall not be distributed through personal checks payable to the youth. The assigned YTS shall assist the youth in filling out the necessary application and gathering the appropriate supporting documentation.

Youth who are age 18 up to age 26 who were in foster care and enrolled in Medicaid on their 18th birthday shall be eligible for Medicaid according to the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Before the youth's 18th birthday, or upon the youth's request for Medicaid benefits, the youth shall complete and sign the application for Medicaid. The youth shall complete a new application and submit it to the YTS each year thereafter.