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ilp foster parents imgTransitioning to Self Sufficiency

Foster parents are critical to emerging adults' success and can begin to help foster youth think about the future long before age 18. In addition to participating in monthly visits with social workers, foster parents are encouraged to ask to participate in the formal conferences that foster teens have with their social workers and to start conversations about foster teens' future plans for financial independence.

When foster youth turn 16, they begin working with their social worker and other mentors to establish realistic and achievable goals as part of their Transitional Independent Living Plan or TILP. At this age, foster youth also participate in the Independent Living Program (ILP), which helps them build the skills needed to live independently, and helps them further refine their life goals.

Children & Family Services social workers discuss goals for college, employment, housing, and other critical areas with 16- and 17-year-old foster teens, and help them make an informed decision about whether they will exit foster care at age 18, or enter Extended Foster Care.

When foster youth turn 18, they decide whether to participate in Extended Foster Care, and then communicate their decision to the juvenile court. Because Extended Foster Care comes with a set of important rights & responsibilities, social workers give foster teens plenty of information about housing options and other aspects of the program.

Extended Foster Care Parents

It's important to remember that extended foster care is a voluntary program, and that each emerging adult must make his or her own decision about participation. Still, foster parents can play a significant role in helping emerging adults reach their decisions by engaging in conversations about the future, discussing housing options and financial priorities, assisting with college tours and job shadowing opportunities, and asking to participate in exit conferences with social workers.

Further, it is helpful to review and discuss with emerging adults the Mutual Agreement for Extended Foster Care, which lays out the benefits of Extended Foster Care, as well as the commitments that emerging adults must make if they choose to participate. Emerging adults who choose to participate in Extended Foster Care may ask to continue to live with their current foster families, so reviewing this document can help foster parents decide whether taking on a new role as a caregiver for an emerging adult within Extended Foster Care is right for them.

Extended Foster Care Placement Options
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Emerging adults can transition into one of two placement arrangements depending on the level of independent living skills demonstrated. They can also opt out completely.

Foster Family – Extended Foster Care – appropriate for emerging adults who need more time to develop their independent living skills.

Emerging adults who reach agreements with their current foster families to continue living with them, but who need more time to develop their independent living skills, will enter into a Foster Family – Extended Foster Care placement arrangement. Under this arrangement, the foster parents will continue to receive the approved basic rate (plus any other allowable special reimbursements).

Supervised Independent Living – Extended Foster Care – reserved for emerging adults with adequate independent living skills.

Emerging adults who reach agreements with their current foster families to continue living with them, and who have adequate independent living skills, will enter into a "supervised independent living – extended foster care" arrangement. Under this arrangement, the emerging adult can receive the approved basic rate (plus any other allowable special reimbursements).

When considering the placement options above, the emerging adult will complete a Supervised Independent Living Program Readiness AssessmentAcrobatReader jointly with their social worker.

Financial arrangements for both types of placements as well as agreements for curfew times, chores, and other such household "rules" will vary according to the decisions reached by each household. Children & Family Services social workers will be available to help facilitate conversations, as needed, and agreements will be documented in the Mutual Agreement for Extended Foster CareAcrobatReader.

Transitioning from childhood to adulthood while living in the same household will no doubt present growth opportunities for both emerging adults and their foster parents. Please know that emerging adults and foster parents will receive plenty of emotional support from Children & Family Services social workers in adjusting to the change.

 

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