Monthly Archives: April 2012

THP-Plus under realignment

Q: The Administration’s realignment trailer bill was released last Friday and it appears to give county child welfare agencies the option as to whether or not to implement THP-Plus and THP-Plus Foster Care. Was THP-Plus Foster Care an option under AB 12 or was it required? How will this ultimately be determined?

A: Yes, language in the Administration’s trailer bill provides counties with the discretion to use funding provided for THP-Plus and THP-Plus Foster Care for other purposes (page 79). This is a change in the policy adopted by the California State Legislature with AB 12, which required counties to establish THP-Plus Foster Care as a placement option for non-minor dependents. The decision as to whether THP-Plus Foster Care is optional or required will be determined by the Legislature and the Administration as part of the passage of the Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget package.

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County practice regarding discharge at age 19 in 2012

Q: I am a manager in a Foster Family Agency. I recently learned that some counties are not discharging non-minor dependents who turn 19 in 2012, but instead are allowing them to remain in extended foster care until January 1, 2013 at which time they will be eligible to remain until age 20. My question: is this allowable and if so, how can I find out which counties are doing what, as my agency serves youth from many different counties?

 A: The decision whether or not to discharge a youth from foster care once the youth turns 19 (during 2012) is made by the juvenile court. The question you raise has to do with funding. Under AB 12, a non-minor dependent is eligible to receive a foster care maintenance payment until age 19 in 2012. For non-minor dependents who are federally eligible for foster care, half of that cost is paid by the federal government.  Once the youth turns 19, the youth is no longer eligible to receive a foster care maintenance payment (also known as AFDC-FC) until January 1, 2013 (when eligibility for foster care maintenance payments is extended until age 20).

 If a county is authorized by its Board of Supervisors to fund out of the county general fund cases of a non-minor dependents past age 19 in 2012, the county child welfare agency or probation department assumes the full cost of care for the remainder of the year. Some of the 58 counties’ Board of Supervisors are authorizing these funds.  Other counties without this authority are petitioning the juvenile court to have the youth’s case terminated when the youth turns 19.  If the court grants the petition and dismisses dependency, the youth can re-enter on January 1, 2013 (and will be eligible to participate in extended foster care and receive AFDC-FC benefits until he/she turns 20 in 2013).

 The California County Welfare Director’s Association, along with others, worked hard to fix this issue in clean-up legislation, but were not successful due to fiscal concerns cited by the Administration. The best way to learn about the practice in different counties is to ask the non-minor’s county child welfare worker or their attorney.

Re-entry to foster care: county of jurisdiction vs. county of residence

Q:  If a youth who exited care has moved to a new county and wants to reenter foster care, do they have to contact the child welfare agency in the county that had jurisdiction when they exited or can they contact the child welfare agency where they currently live?

A:  According to ACL 12-12, the original county retains jurisdiction, but a youth who wishes to re-enter can contact either the county of jurisdiction or the county of residence.  If the child welfare agency that the youth contacts is not the one that has jurisdiction over the case, the county of residence is required to immediately assist the youth in determining the county of jurisdiction and allow the youth to phone the point of contact in the county of jurisdiction in order to begin the application process.  In some cases the county of residence may be able to provide assistance to the youth with completing the necessary forms and send them to the county that has jurisdiction.  If they are not able to provide this assistance, the county of jurisdiction must assess the circumstances of the youth’s request and get the completed forms from the youth in a timely manner.

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Re-entry to foster care after involvement with adult criminal justice system

Q:  If a youth exits foster care and becomes involved with the adult criminal justice system, does that disqualify him from re-entering extended foster care?

A:  No; the existence of a criminal conviction does not bar the court from resuming dependency jurisdiction. If placement in a licensed or approved foster or relative home with dependent minors in the residence is planned for a youth who is re-entering, the county may elect to do a background check of the youth.  The background check is solely for purpose of determining appropriate placement.  Although the Health and Safety Code requires that adults residing in a licensed foster family home are subject to criminal background clearances, these sections do not apply to non-minor dependents residing in licensed foster family homes, because they are considered clients. This also applies to non-minor dependents in relative and non-related extended family member homes. For more information, refer to ACL 12-12.

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Continuing to meet extended foster care participation conditions post-partum

Q:  I am working with a non-minor dependent who recently gave birth to a child. She is taking time off from her job to be with her newborn. Does she still qualify for extended foster care and if so, under which of the participation conditions?

A: Yes, the non-minor dependent would still be eligible for extended foster care. Birth of a child does not disqualify a non-minor dependent from participating in extended foster care. Under these circumstances, she would likely meet participation condition #5, which states that the non-minor dependent is incapable of meeting participation conditions #1 to #4 due to a medical condition.

The medical condition must be verified by a healthcare practitioner and written documentation is required that the medical condition renders the individual incapable of doing any the activities that would allow her to meet one of the other four participation conditions. For more information about condition #5, refer to ACL 11-61.

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