Aging Out of Foster Care
Recognizing that 18 was too young for most young adults to be without support, a bill was signed into law in September 2010 giving foster youth the option to remain in foster care and receive services and supports until age 21. The bill is called the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, and is also known as Assembly Bill 12 (AB12). Beginning January 1, 2012, young adults are allowed to remain in Extended Foster Care after they turn 18.
This additional time will help them:
- Prepare for their futures through additional education and employment training opportunities
- Find and secure consistent and safe housing
- Build permanent connections with caring adults, including relatives, mentors, and community members
There are a number of living arrangement options available to young adults who continue in foster care after age 18. These options include:
- The home of an approved relative, a non-related extended family member, or a legal guardian.
- A licensed foster family home or a certified Foster Family Agency (FFA) home.
- A Transitional Housing Placement Plus Foster Care (THP+FC). This is a new housing option that will be similar to the current THP-Plus program.
- A Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP). This is a new housing option that can be an apartment with or without a roommate, or a room-and-board living arrangement, such as a college dorm. These placements will need to be approved and supervised by the county, and young adults may be able to receive foster care payments directly if they choose this living arrangement.
- A Group Home Placement. Young adults can choose to live in their group homes until age 19 or until they graduate from high school, which ever comes first.
Extended Foster Care Requirements
Remaining in foster care is a choice. Foster youth can decide to leave foster care when they turn 18. They can also change their minds and return to foster care in order to receive extended services and supports at any time, provided they meet the requirements. Foster youth who choose to remain in foster care after 18 are considered non-minor dependents and they need to be doing one of the following to qualify for services:
- Completing high school or an equivalent program
- Enrolled at least half-time in college, community college, or a vocational program
- Employed at least 80 hours a month
- Participating in a program or activity designed to promote employment or remove barriers to employment
Young adults who are unable to do one of the above requirements due to a medical condition are also eligible for services and supports.
Young adults who receive extended services and support to help ease the transition to adulthood also have responsibilities. They include:
- Creating a Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP). With the help of a social worker or probation officer, young adults will develop a plan to reach their educational and/or professional goals. The young adults and social worker or probation officer will meet monthly to track the plan and discuss how to achieve those goals.
- Going to Court. Young adults will be assigned an attorney and will need to attend court hearings every six months to help monitor their progress.