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.