Q: For youth who are AWOL but have an open court case when they turn 18 years old, how should the county comply with the requirements of completing the mutual agreement (SOC 161) and the TILP (Transitional Independent Living Plan)?
A: A youth who has an order for foster care placement but who is AWOL on his/her 18th birthday has the right to participate in extended foster care at the point that he/she contacts the child welfare agency and agrees to return to a supervised licensed or approved placement. If the youth cannot be located upon turning 18, it may be appropriate for the social worker or probation officer to schedule a hearing pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 391 in order to close the case, recognizing that the NMD will be placed under general jurisdiction and retains the right to re-enter extended foster care at a later date. In fact, Welfare and Institutions Code section 391 specifies that the court may terminate jurisdiction over a nonminor if the court finds after reasonable and documented efforts that the nonminor cannot be located. If the court terminates jurisdiction, a SOC 161 and TILP would not need to be completed. If the NMD chooses to re-enter at some point in the future, the agency would complete the required forms at that time.
Citation: Welf. & Inst. Code § 391; 388(e).