Monthly Archives: June 2012

Placement delays: what to do about gaps in housing

Q:  I currently live in a group home and I just turned 18 and graduated high school.  I have been accepted to Job Corps but it doesn’t start for another month and a half.  Can I stay in my group home until I move into my housing through Job Corps?  If not, what should I do about my gap in housing?

A:  According to ACL 11-77, if a nonminor dependent has graduated high school already, he/she cannot stay in a group home placement after turning 18, unless he/she meets participation condition number five, medical condition (as described in ACL 11-69).  The nonminor dependent’s county social worker is responsible for identifying an appropriate short-term placement eligible under extended foster care for the nonminor dependent until he/she enters Job Corps.  

If the nonminor dependent and social worker decide that the best option is for the nonminor dependent to reside in a short-term Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) for the month and a half gap before entering Job Corps, the social worker would need to complete a Readiness Assessment (as described in ACL 11-77) and physical health and safety inspection (SOC 157B) of the short-term housing identified by the nonminor dependent, and an Approval and Placement Agreement (SOC 157A). 

Placement options for non-minor dependents

Q:  If a youth over 18 remains in foster care but doesn’t qualify under the eligibility framework laid out in AB12 (for example, the youth turned 19 in 2011 but the case was kept open and paid by all county funds), does that youth have the same placement options as a youth who meets the criteria under AB12?

A:  Yes, any youth who remains in the foster care system with an order for out of home placement after the age of 18 has the same placement options.  If the youth does not meet the eligibility requirements outlined in AB12, the county cannot request federal reimbursement for costs, but the use of “all county funds” does not impact what placement options are available. 

Process for navigating placement disputes

Q:  I am not happy in my current placement and want to move to a SILP, but my county social worker is telling me that I can’t move.  Is there anything that I can do?

A:  State regulations require that “the decisions regarding continuation of current placements or moves to new placements shall be made in consultation with the NMDs” (ACL 11-77) and therefore you should have an active role in the decision making process.  With SILPs in particular, however, there is an expectation that the non-minor dependent will pass a readiness assessment and that the NMD will identify their own housing.  You can ask your social worker to conduct a SILP readiness assessment with you to help you to determine if you qualify and to identify areas that you can work on to ensure that you will be successful in a SILP (such as budgeting, money management, understanding tenant responsibilities, etc.).  If you don’t qualify at this time, the areas that you need to work on should be incorporated into your Transitional Independent Living Plan. You may also want to talk with a case manager at the Independent Living Services Program about how to go about looking for housing and developing a budget.  The “Young Adult’s Guide to Housing” can also provide some valuable tips for finding and securing housing. 

If you are unable to come to a mutually agreeable resolution with your social worker, placement disputes can also be addressed through your county’s informal grievance process or you can ask to have the dispute resolved in court by a judge.  You can talk with your attorney to find out how to do this.

Non-minor dependent eligibility for CalFresh benefits

Q: Can a Non-Minor Dependent (NMD) in a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) receive CalFresh benefits (i.e. food stamps)?

A: Yes.  According to a FAQ document provided by CDSS, a NMD living in a SILP can apply for CalFresh. Eligibility for CalFresh is made on a case by case basis and considers the household composition, the individual’s income, earned and unearned, including the foster care grant, assets, the amount of rent and utility expenses, student status and other factors. The fact that the NMD is receiving a foster care payment does not, in and of itself, make the young adult ineligible. Eligibility will be based on the combined income and resources of the young adult and may include the income and resources of other persons living in the SILP who purchase and prepare meals with the NMD. If the NMD is employed, that income will factor into the eligibility decision. Additionally, if the NMD is attending college, eligibility considerations are different. NMDs living in a SILP should be encouraged to apply for CalFresh, as they may be eligible, but should be informed that a variety of factors go into the eligibility determination, so it is not guaranteed.

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