Monthly Archives: February 2013

Nonminor dependent adoption

Q: I am currently 18 years old and am participating in extended foster care. My current caregiver wants to adopt me, but thought that I could not be adopted after age 18. Can I be adopted or not?

A: Yes, as a result of Assembly Bill 1712, non-minor dependents can be adopted after the age of 18 AND are eligible to receive financial support through the Adoption Assistance Payment (AAP) program. This process is called “Non-Minor Dependent Adoption” and ensures that a NMD whose adoption is finalized by the juvenile court is eligible to receive AAP until age 21, as long as all other eligibility conditions of AAP are met.   

(Reference: Welf. & Inst. Code §366.3, 366.3(f), 16120, 16123, 16120.1)

Financial aid eligibility and the impact of direct payments to nonminor dependents

Q:  A youth on my caseload was in a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) last year and received his foster care payments directly. He’s now completing financial aid forms for college and isn’t sure whether this income will impact his eligibility for financial aid. What should I tell him?

 A: Financial aid regulations include a specific exemption for foster care payments (Higher Education Act, Section 480(e)(4)). This means that these payments, including those going directly to a Non-Minor Dependent (NMD) in a SILP, do not need to be reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as income and therefore do not reduce the amount of financial aid for which a NMD is eligible. The U.S. Department of Education is currently preparing written guidance for college financial aid officers on this issue. 

Medi-Cal coverage for youth who opt out of care

Q: I am working with a youth who doesn’t want to participate in extended foster care. If she opts-out, will she lose her Medi-Cal coverage? 

A: No, all youth who have an order for foster care placement on his/her 18th birthday remain eligible for Medi-Cal up to age 21 under the Medi-Cal for Former Foster Youth program regardless of whether the youth remains in foster care. (Beginning January 1, 2014, foster youth will be eligible for this program to age of 26 as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.) 

This means that any NMD who opts out of extended foster care after age 18 would still be eligible for Medi-Cal until age 21. There is no need for these youth to re-apply for Medi-Cal once they turn 18, even if they opt out of extended foster care.  In addition, there is no income or asset test for continued coverage under Medi-Cal for Former Foster Youth.  

 (Reference: Welf. & Inst. Code §14005.28; ACWDL 00-41, 00-61, 01-41)

Extended CalWORKs for non-minor dependents

Q: If a NMD moves out of the state can they still receive extended CalWORKS after the age of 18?

A: Yes, Assembly Bill1712 clarified that extended CalWORKS benefits can be paid for a NMD placed with an approved relative living out of state while they participate in extended foster care.  A NMD may be receiving extended CalWORKS after the age of 18 if they are placed with an approved relative and the youth is not eligible for federal foster care benefits. (Reference: Welf. & Inst Code §  11253)