Q: I am the CASA for a youth in foster care who is an undocumented immigrant, who came to the U.S. with her parents as a small child. She will soon turn 18 years-old. As an undocumented immigrant, will be she eligible for extended foster care?
A: Yes, children and youth in foster care are considered qualified aliens. Provided she meets all other eligibility requirements, her immigration status does not disqualify her from participating in extended foster care.
However, it is important that this individual applies for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), if she has not already. This is a special process that allows individuals under age 21, who cannot be reunited with a parent due to abuse, neglect or abandonment, to apply for a green card and remain in the United States legally. To get started, the youth should contact her social worker and attorney. Additional information about SIJS can be found at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
Source: Social Security Act- sections 472(a)(4) and 473(a)(2)(B); The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PL 104-193)