Can non-minors in guardianships be placed in a SILP or THP+FC?

Q: I work for Child Protective Services and would like to know whether youth in Non-Related Legal Guardianships (NRLG) are eligible for placement in a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) or in a transitional housing placement (THP+FC).

Also, is there a certain age these youth had to have gone into the guardianship to be eligible for extended benefits?

A: Youth in guardianships, including Non-Related Legal Guardianship (NRLG) are not eligible for Extended Foster Care, and so they cannot be placed in foster care placements such as a SILP or THP+FC.

Some youth in guardianships are eligible for extended Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP) benefits:

  • Youth in NRLG established in dependency court are eligible for extended Kin-GAP to age 21, regardless of the age the guardianship was established.[1]
  • Youth in NRLG established by the probate court are only eligible for extended Kin-GAP as follows: If they are still in high school when they turn 18, they can remain receiving benefits until they graduate high school or turn 19, whichever comes first. “This is called the high school completion rule”.[2]
  • Youth in kin guardianships are eligible for extended Kin-GAP to age 21 if the guardianship was established after the youth turned 16[3] (with the exception of the condition stated in the next bulletin). If the guardianship was established prior to turning 16, they are only eligible for extended benefits under the terms of the high school completion rule stated in the previous bullet.[4]
  • Youth in kin guardianships who have a physical or mental disability, the Kin-GAP benefits can be extended to age 21 regardless of the age the guardianship was established.[5]

Citation:

[1] Welfare & Institutions Code § 11400(2)(aa)
[2] All County Letter 11‐69
[3] Welfare & Institutions Code §§ 11363(d), 11386(h); All County Letter 11‐86; Senate Bill 1013
[4] Welfare & Institutions Code § 11363(c)(3), 11386(g)(3); All County Letter 11‐15; All County Letter 11‐86
[5] Welfare & Institutions Code §§ 11363(c)(2), 11386(g)(2)

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THP-Plus – are married youth eligible?

Q: Are there any restrictions regarding married former foster youth applying for the THP-Plus program?

A: No, there is no restriction regarding married former foster youth participating in THP-Plus. If they are otherwise THP-Plus-eligible, youth who are married can participate in THP-Plus.

Youth are eligible for THP-Plus who were in foster care or out-of-home probation on or after their 18th birthday, and who are ages 18 up to age 24,[1] and up to age 25 in counties who have opted into the THP-Plus extension[2] established by SB 1252.

Citations:

[1] Welfare & Institutions Code Section 11403.2(a)(2)(A)

[2] Welfare & Institutions Code Section 11403.2(a)(2)(B)

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Medical Marijuana Card holder in THP+FC

Q: I’m a county worker with a young man who has a medical marijuana card, living in one of our THP+FC sites. His medical marijuana card says he has to smoke it within the confinements of his own home, however the provider does not want him smoking in the house. Is the provider required to permit him to smoke marijuana, and how do we handle the issue of his roommate (who does not hold a medical marijuana card) being exposed to or potentially accessing the marijuana?

A: In accordance with Title 22, California Code of Regulations, section 86087(f), the provider must forbid smoking at the THP+FC site. However, this does not prohibit the NMD from “taking” the marijuana by other means (e.g., orally). Accordingly, the county must comply with any protections to prevent those without a medical marijuana card from also consuming the substance. Such precautions may include, but are not limited to, keeping the marijuana in locked storage and having on hand only what will be used immediately.

Citation: Guidance from the California Department of Social Services, Title 22, California Code of Regulations, section 86087(f)

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Waiting Period for Re-Entry

No. It is not permitted to impose a waiting period of any duration before an otherwise eligible youth can re-enter foster care.

To re-enter, the youth must sign a voluntary re-entry agreement (SOC 163), which provides the county with the authority for placement for 180 days. Once this is signed, foster care benefits begin the date the agreement is signed or the date that the youth is placed in a qualified placement, whichever is later.

Policy guidance is clear that the youth does not have to be working or in school to re-enter foster care when the re-entry agreement is signed. Instead, they must agree to complete one of the participation conditions.  As ACL 12-12 states, “The youth’s signature on the SOC 163 will indicate their initial agreement to satisfy one of five participation conditions of EFC and will continue to satisfy that requirement pending completion of the TILP that documents their continuing participation.”

W&IC section 388(e); CDSS ACL 12-12

 

 

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Adopted at 16 but in need of services

Q: I was adopted when I was 16, but things didn’t really work out and I’ve been on my own since I turned 18. Now I’m 19 years-old and I work part-time, but it’s not enough to rent an apartment even with a roommate. I’m staying on my friend’s couch right now but I need to be out of here soon. My adoptive parents will not allow me to move back in. Am I eligible for AB 12 or for the THP-Plus program for former foster youth? 

A: Yes, you may be eligible to re-enter Extended Foster Care (EFC) through a process that was established by Assembly Bill 2454.

As of January 1, 2015, a youth who is over 18 years of age and, while a minor, was a dependent child or ward of the juvenile court when their guardianship or adoption was established, may seek re-entry to foster care if the legal guardian(s) or adoptive parent(s) received aid* after the youth attained 18 years of age, but no longer provide ongoing support to, and no longer receive aid on behalf of the non-minor between 18 and (up to) 21 years old.

Once the petition is filed and the court determines there is sufficient information to indicate that the non-minor meets one of the conditions for re-entry, a hearing will be scheduled within 15 judicial days.

The child welfare or probation department will prepare a court report that addresses how the non-minor will meet one of the five EFC participation criteria cited in ACL 11-69 and the appropriate placement setting for the non-minor. If re-entry into foster care is in the non-minor’s best interest, the court will assume dependency jurisdiction over the non-minor and order placement and care responsibility with the child welfare or probation agency.

As for your eligibility for the THP-Plus program for former foster youth, you are not eligible. Youth are eligible for the THP-Plus program who were in foster care or out-of-home placement on or after their 18th birthday and there is currently no mechanism to petition this, as there is for Extended Foster Care.

*Received aid under the state or federal Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP), as a Non-Related Legal Guardian whose guardianship was established in dependency court, or through the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP)

Citation: Assembly Bill 2454 (2014), All County Information Notice I-17-15 (October 20, 2015), All County Letter 11-69 (October 13, 2011)

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Criminal Convictions And Financial Aid

Q: If I have been convicted of a crime, does this impact whether I am eligible for financial aid?

A: For the most part, a student with a criminal conviction, including one who is on probation or parole, is eligible for federal and state financial aid, however there are some exceptions. If you are currently incarcerated, you are ineligible for a federal Pell grant. Your eligibility may also be suspended if you were convicted of a drug-related offense and the offense occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, or work-study). Note that the suspension can be lifted however by successfully completing an approved drug rehabilitation program or by passing two unannounced drug tests administered by an approved drug rehabilitation program.

If you are convicted of a drug-related offense after you submit the FAFSA, you might lose eligibility for federal student aid, and you might be liable for returning any financial aid you received during a period of ineligibility.

Finally, if you have been convicted of a forcible or non-forcible sexual offense, and you are subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for that offense, you cannot receive a Federal Pell Grant.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

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Youth Savings Requirements for THP+FC Providers?

Q: I’m the former foster parent of a youth who is now in Extended Foster Care, living in a THP+FC program. She is exiting the program next month and wants to know how much money has been saved on her behalf that she can access when she exits. Can you tell me what the savings requirements are for non-minor dependents participating in THP+FC programs?

A: While many THP+FC programs do have savings plans for the youth placed with them, there is no requirement that a THP+FC provider have any particular savings plan. THP+FC providers are required to have policies on what their savings requirements are, but statutes and regulations are not prescriptive regarding any savings account or plan.

Citation: Welfare and Institutions Code Section 16522.1

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Financial aid for youth who were adopted

Q: I am working with a youth who has been adopted, and she is applying for financial aid for college. What age would this youth have to have been adopted after, to qualify for financial aid for foster youth?

A: For the Chafee Grant, which is the only form of financial aid dedicated solely for foster youth, a youth must have been in care on their 16th birthday. So if they were adopted after turning age 16, they would be eligible for the Chafee Grant.

For other forms of financial aid, such as the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver, the Cal Grant and the Pell Grant, the terms are different. Eligibility for these forms of aid is linked to financial need. Foster youth (and youth in guardianships) are entitled to independent status on the FAFSA, which means they do not need to report parental income, but if their own income exceeds the income standards, they will not get aid.

In order to qualify for independent status, a youth needs to have been in care on their 13th birthday. So, if they were adopted prior to age 13, they will have to report their adoptive parents’ income, which may or may not qualify them for these forms of aid, depending on the amount of the adoptive parents’ income.

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List of counties that have opted into the THP-Plus extension

Q: I’m currently nearing the end of my 24 months in the THP-Plus program. I’m working on getting my AA degree, and would really like to stay in the program until I finish. I’ve heard that some counties allow youth to remain in THP-Plus for an additional 12 months if they are in school. How do I find out whether my county offers this?

A: You are correct. Senate Bill 1252 (Torres) established the option for counties to extend their THP-Plus programs for youth enrolled in school for an additional 12 months and up to the age of 25. This law went into effect January 1, 2015.

Currently, 19 counties have opted into the THP-Plus extension. These counties are listed, along with additional information about the THP-Plus extension on the THP-Plus website at the following URL: http://thpplus.org/thp-plus-extension-for-youth-enrolled-in-school/

This fall, the John Burton Foundation will be releasing an implementation report on the THP-Plus extension informed by interviews with providers and county representatives in the counties that have opted into the extension.

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Counting Income for CalFresh in THP+FC

Q: I’m helping a Non-Minor Dependent (NMD) who is placed in our THP+FC program apply for CalFresh (food stamps). Does she include the monthly stipend our program gives her as unearned income, or the entire monthly foster care payment (THP+FC rate) we receive on her behalf?

A: When completing the unearned income portion of the application for CalFresh, a NMD in THP+FC should list the amount of money made available to the them directly, including any portion that is being put into a savings. They should not list the whole foster care payment the provider receives on the NMD’s behalf.

The California Department of Social Services clarified this in a recent CF24, stating “the actual amount of THP monies made available to the youth whether spent, held or put into personal savings shall be considered unearned income in the month receive for the CalFresh budget.”

THP+FC providers who utilize the single or remote site housing model currently receive $3,090 per youth per month (host family rate is $2,459). Providers pass a portion of this foster care payment to the youth, but this amount ranges across the state from roughly $400 to $1,200.

Citation: MPP Section 63-502.14, CF24 revised 6/29/16

 

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