Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 - New York

Date: March 2022

Availability of Foster Care to Age 21

Citation: Fam. Crt. Act §§ 1089; 1091

When the permanency goal for a youth aging out of foster care is another planned permanent living arrangement that includes a significant connection to an adult willing to be a permanency resource for the youth, the local social services district may discharge the youth on a trial basis to the planned permanent living arrangement unless the court has prohibited or otherwise conditioned such a trial discharge. Trial discharge for a youth aging out of foster care shall mean that the youth is physically discharged but the local social services district retains care and custody or custody and guardianship of the child and there remains a date certain for the scheduled permanency hearing. Trial discharge for a youth aging out of foster care may be extended at each scheduled permanency hearing until the youth reaches age 21 if a youth older than age 18 consents to such an extension.

Prior to finally discharging a youth aging out of foster care to another planned permanent living arrangement, the local social services official shall give the youth notice of the right to apply to reenter foster care within the earlier of 24 months of the final discharge or the youth's 21st birthday. Such notice also shall advise the youth that reentry into foster care will only be available when the youth has no reasonable alternative to foster care and consents to enrollment in and attendance at an appropriate educational or vocational program.

A motion to return a youth formerly in foster care younger than age 21 who was discharged from foster care due to a failure to consent to continuation of placement to the custody of the local commissioner of social services or other officer, board, or department authorized to receive children as public charges may be made by such youth or by a local social services official upon the consent of such youth, if there is a compelling reason for such youth to return to foster care.

The court shall not entertain a motion filed after 24 months from the date of the first final discharge that occurred on or after the former foster care youth's 18th birthday.

Requirements for Remaining in Placement

Citation: Fam. Crt. Act § 1091; Admin. Rules Tit. 18, §§ 449.4; 449.1(c)

A motion for reentry into foster care that is made pursuant to this section by a social services official shall be made by order to show cause. Such motion shall show by affidavit or other evidence the following:

  • The youth formerly in foster care has no reasonable alternative to foster care.
  • The youth formerly in foster care consents to enrollment in and attendance at an appropriate educational or vocational program, unless evidence is submitted that such enrollment or attendance is unnecessary or inappropriate, given the youth's circumstances.
  • Reentry into foster care is in the best interests of the youth formerly in foster care.
  • The youth formerly in foster care consents to the reentry into foster care.
  • In the case of a youth formerly in foster care discharged from foster care on or after reaching age 16, the youth is or is likely to be homeless unless returned to foster care.

In regulation: Youth who participate in the supervised-setting program must be at least age 16 and no older than age 21. Such youth must have a readiness assessment completed with them prior to initial placement in a supervised setting or prior to a change in placement; this requirement does not apply to youth placed in college-owned housing. The supervised-setting program must comply with applicable discharge planning requirements set forth § 430.12.

A supervised setting is a residential placement in the community approved and supervised by an authorized agency to provide a transitional experience for older youth in which such youth may live independently. A supervised setting includes, but is not limited to, placement in a supervised independent living program, college housing, shared housing with youth not in foster care, and room rentals.

Placement Agreements

Citation: Admin. Rules Tit. 18, § 430.12(j)-(k)

Whenever a child will remain in foster care on or after the child's 18th birthday, the agency with responsibility for the child must begin developing a transition plan with the child 180 days prior to the child's 18th birthday or 180 days prior to the child's scheduled discharge date when the child is consenting to remain in foster care after the child's 18th birthday. The transition plan must be completed 90 days prior to the scheduled discharge. Such plan must be personalized at the direction of the child. The transition plan must include specific options on housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services, and workforce supports and employment services. The transition plan must be as detailed as the child in foster care may elect.

Upon reaching age 14 and each year thereafter until discharged from foster care, each child in foster care must receive a copy of any consumer report on such child, as prescribed by the Office of Children and Family Services, at no cost to the child. The agency with legal custody of the child in foster care must provide or arrange for the provision of assistance to the child—including, where feasible, from any court-appointed advocate—in  interpreting and resolving any inaccuracies in the reports.

A child in foster care who is leaving foster care by reason of reaching age 18 or older and who has been in foster care for 6 months or more may not be discharged from care without being provided with the following:

  • An official or certified copy of their birth certificate and Social Security card
  • Health insurance information
  • A copy of their medical records
  • A driver's license or State-issued identification card

Transition Supports Provided

Citation: Admin. Rules Tit. 18, § 449.4

Supervised-setting programs must include, but are not limited to, the following service components to provide youth with opportunities to demonstrate and achieve positive outcomes and make successful transitions to adulthood:

  • An ongoing effort to actively involve the youth in identifying, establishing, and maintaining connections and fostering relationships with adult permanency resources who will continue to provide support and guidance to the youth prior to and following discharge from foster care
  • Preventive health care and programs to provide the youth with an understanding of appropriate health and behavioral health literacy, including, but not limited to, sexual and reproductive health and, when relevant, parenting skills
  • Employment skills or training opportunities and the development of work ethics, including services that develop a youth's ability to find, apply for, and retain appropriate employment
  • Educational support, help in completing high school, preparation for the high school equivalency exam, and/or postsecondary services designed to help a youth enter or complete a college or vocational program
  • Housing support, including working with the youth to look for, secure, and maintain stable housing
  • Budgeting and financial literacy skills
  • Home management skills, including, but not limited to, shopping, cooking, and maintaining the living environment
  • Access to community resources, including, but not limited to, medical, mental health, youth development, civic, social, and other supports
  • Positive youth development
  • Necessary developmentally appropriate services, as determined by an assessment of the needs of the individual youth
  • Preparation for discharge and the transition to self-sufficiency
  • Parenting skills, healthy pregnancy skills, child development education, and any other individualized and developmentally appropriate training deemed necessary for a parenting youth and their child
  • Ongoing comprehensive assessment of life skills specific to the needs of each individual youth and for pregnant or parenting youth

Other conditions required for youth participation in supervised-setting programs include the following:

  • Health supervision and medical and dental care must be provided to each youth.
  • The educational, vocational, and recreational needs of youth must be met. Opportunities to explore higher education and financial aid information and support must be made available to the youth, as appropriate.
  • Each supervised independent setting must have facilities that will enable youth to prepare meals. This requirement does not apply if the supervised setting is college-owned housing with communal meal space.
  • Youth must have individual toilet articles for personal grooming and hygiene that are safe and age and developmentally appropriate.
  • Youth must have appropriate seasonal clothing in sufficient quantity. Clothing must be kept clean and in good repair.
  • Youth must be provided regular and ongoing opportunities to engage in age- or developmentally appropriate activities, in accordance with the requirements of the reasonable and prudent parenting standard.