Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 - Utah
Availability of Foster Care to Age 21
Citation: Admin. Code R512-305-1; R512-305-2
Transition to Adult Living (TAL) services are available to help prepare a youth who is receiving out-of-home services to gain skills to transition to adulthood and to provide support to youth upon leaving the custody of the Division of Child and Family Services. TAL is a continuum of services that begins while youth are in care and continues while they transition out of care. Youth receiving in-home services may also receive some TAL services.
TAL services are available in all geographic regions of the State. TAL services are available on the same basis to Native American youth who are or were formerly in Tribal custody within the boundaries of the State.
Requirements for Remaining in Placement
Citation: Admin. Code R512-305-2; R512-305-4
Qualifications for and duration of services include the following:
- TAL services are required for all youth who are age 14 years and older and who are receiving out-of-home services until division custody is terminated, regardless of the youth's permanency goal.
- TAL provides aftercare services for youth if they are no longer in division custody and are not yet age 23 and either of the following applies:
- The youth ages out of out-of-home care.
- The youth is adopted from foster care at age 16 or older.
A TAL placement may be used as an alternative to out-of-home care when it is determined that such a placement is in the best interest of the youth. Requirements for a TAL placement include the following:
- A youth must be at least age 16 to be in a TAL placement.
- The Child and Family Team (CFT) is responsible for determining if a recommendation for a TAL placement for a youth is appropriate.
- The region director or designee is authorized to approve a TAL placement.
Citation: Admin. Code R512-305-3; R512-305-4
The caseworker, with the assistance of the youth and CFT, ensures completion of the empirically validated life-skills assessment to identify the strengths and needs of the youth. Based upon the empirically validated life-skills assessment, a TAL plan is developed that identifies the youth's strengths, needs, and specific services.
The youth, with the assistance of the CFT, determines the TAL plan. Youth aged 14 or older are required to have a TAL plan, with youth taking the lead in setting goals and facilitating the CFT with staff guidance. Youth aged 14 and older must be given the opportunity to have at least two individuals of their own choosing as members of the CFT.
The appropriate types of living arrangements for youth in this situation include living with kin; living with former out-of-home caregivers while paying rent; living in the community with roommates; living alone; living in a group facility, YWCA, boarding house, or dorm; or living with an adult who has passed a background check or for whom the placement was assessed and approved by the region director or designee. This recommendation will be presented to the CFT, who will work to ensure that this type of placement is appropriate and that the following practice guidelines are met:
- The caseworker and youth shall complete a contract outlining responsibilities and expectations while in the TAL placement.
- The caseworker shall visit with and monitor progress of the youth at least twice monthly or at an interval determined by the CFT.
- The youth may receive a TAL stipend while in the TAL placement.
- If the TAL placement is not successful, the CFT shall meet to determine, with the youth, a more appropriate living arrangement.
Transition Supports Provided
Citation: Admin. Code R512-305-2; R512-305-3; R512-305-5; Out-of-Home Ser. Prac. Guide § 303.7
TAL services build on the youth's individual strengths and develop personal assets to help youth acquire the motivation and the means to be successful throughout their lives. The strategies are aimed at helping youth achieve five fundamental aspects of adult life: work, career planning, and education; housing and money management; home life and daily living; self-care and health education; and communication, social relationships, family, and marriage.
Aftercare services consist of time-limited support to youth. This assistance can be provided through support, financial aid, or basic life skills training. It may include housing, counseling, employment education, and other appropriate support and services to complement a youth's efforts to achieve self-sufficiency.
TAL services do not substitute for active efforts to address the youth's permanency goal. The TAL plan includes a continuum of training and services to be completed by the youth and designated team members in such settings as at the foster home, with a therapist, at school, or through other community-based resources and programs.
Basic life skills training shall be offered to all youth in foster care aged 14 years and older. The training may include training in daily living skills, budgeting, career development and financial management skills, substance abuse prevention, and preventive health activities (including smoking avoidance, nutrition education, and pregnancy prevention). Each youth who completes basic life skills training may receive a completion payment.
Aftercare services provide support to youth who leave out-of-home care. A youth may access services by contacting a division office and being referred to a regional TAL coordinator. Services may include additional basic life skills training, information and referral, mentoring, computer access for resources, and follow-up support. Funds also may assist eligible youth in the following four areas:
- Education, training, and career exploration
- Physical health, mental health, and emotional support
- Housing support
Funds used for room and board are subject to Federal limits.
In policy: Caseworkers are responsible for carrying out the following tasks to help the youth prepare to exit out of foster care:
- Ensure that each youth meets with a nurse to learn skills of self-management regarding their individualized health-care needs, medication management, and use of the Medicaid card and how to access medical, dental, and mental health services
- Provide information about the importance of having a health-care power-of-attorney or health-care proxy and provide them with assistance in executing the document
- Assist a youth who turns age 18 while in foster care who is receiving Medicaid to complete the Medicaid review and provide necessary supporting documentation to the regional eligibility caseworker so that Medicaid coverage can continue uninterrupted
- Ensure that each youth has important documents, including the following:
- An official birth certificate
- Social Security card
- Driver's license or State-issued identification card
- A 'proof of foster care status' letter that can be used to verify eligibility for benefits
- If the youth is existing foster care by reason of having reached the age of majority, give the youth a copy of the youth's health and education records at no cost.
If a youth is in care past their 18th birthday, caseworkers will assist the youth in obtaining their free credit report. If the returned credit report has fraudulent activity, the caseworker will assist the youth to complete the process necessary to resolve the discrepancy.