Monthly Archives: September 2014

Access to Telephones in a NMD’s Living Unit

Q: I am a THP+FC provider and have been told by Community Care Licensing that interim regulations require that all THP+FC participants have a telephone in their living units at all times. If the Non-Minor Dependent (NMD) has access to a cell phone but not a land line, would this satisfy the requirement?

A: Yes, access to a cell phone would meet the telephone service requirement, but the provider should formulate a Documented Alternative Plan (DAP) in the Plan of Operation to demonstrate this. A DAP may look similar to the following:

Documented Alternative Plan (DAP): The NMD will have access to a cell phone and/or a land line at all times. If the NMD only uses cell phones they will make sure there is always a working cell phone on the premises if someone is home. In addition, the cell phone/s will be stationed in centralized area and accessible to all individuals in the home.  The cell phone/s will be set to an audible ring tone that be heard and a fully charged battery back-up will be available at all times.    

If the NMD is a custodial parent, there should be a working phone at all times when the child is in the living unit and the DAP should include specifications of how a baby sitter/caregiver for the child will have access to a cell phone when the NMD is not present.

Youth Seeking a THP+Foster Care Placement

Q:  I am not happy in my current placement and want to move to transitional housing (THP+FC), but my county social worker is telling me that there aren’t any placements available.  Is there anything that I can do?

A: There are three things you can do. First, make sure that both you and your social worker are aware of all available THP+FC providers in your area. The number of providers has grown quickly in recent months and it is possible that there are new providers available. There is now THP+FC housing in 48 of California’s 58 counties, so unless you are in a remote area, there should be a licensed provider that offers housing in your county. For an updated list of licensed THP+FC providers by county, follow this LINK.

Second, if there is a THP+FC provider in your area, but it is full at the moment, call to see if you can be notified when there is availability. Then, check back periodically.

Finally, consider contacting providers in adjacent counties to ask if they are considering providing THP+FC in your area. This will not meet your immediate needs, but will give you information about whether there will be additional housing forthcoming or not.

Free Expert Advice on Juvenile Immigration Issues

Q:  I am a social worker for a minor who immigrated to the U.S. with her parents as a child. She will soon turn 18 and wants to participate in extended foster care. As a non-citizen, will be she eligible? Also, is there a place where I can get free legal assistance with her specific case, not general guidance?

 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.

 Yes, you can get help with this specific case, along with free expert advice on a range of juvenile immigration issues, through a new initiative from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and the American Bar Association. This assistance is available to social workers, probations officers, CASAs, nonprofit providers or any other individual working with children and families in the dependency system.

 To get help, send an email to youth@ilrc.org and identify your name, agency if relevant, county, and in what capacity you are involved in the dependency case. According the ILRC, email is the preferred first point of contact and follow up phone consults are available. The ILRC and ABA will usually be able to assist within 72 hours of the request. To learn more about the kind of help available, follow this LINK

Dropping classes: potential impact on financial aid

Q: I am working with a youth who started school full time at college three weeks ago. He’s struggling in one of his classes and is thinking about dropping the class. Will this impact his financial aid?

A: Federal financial aid such as Pell grants are prorated based on course load. If dropping a class results in him no longer qualifying as full time status (less than 12 units), his financial aid award will be reduced. If he has already received his financial aid payment, this can result in an overpayment, which can have a variety of negative consequences, including a block on registration the following term. Dropping the class after the drop deadline could also impact whether the student gets placed on academic probation. He should meet with a financial aid counselor as soon as possible to understand all of the implications of dropping as well as an academic counselor to determine what resources may be available to help him be successful in the class.

NMD’s Right to Breastfeed in School

Q: We have a Non-Minor Dependent (NMD) who gave birth 3 months ago and has returned to high school. Her school has refused to provide her a time and/or location to pump or feed her baby and the only response we get from administration there is “she can go to another school.” Is any requirement for school to assist a student who is parenting to pump and/or breastfeed? This has affected her ability to focus, put her in severe amounts of pain and strains an already delicate mom/baby relationship.

A: According to the California Pregnant and Parenting Youth Guide, “the law says you can breastfeed your child anywhere you and your child have a legal right to be. If you are allowed to bring your child to school, you can breastfeed there. You cannot be forced to breastfeed in the bathroom or anywhere you don’t want to be.” (CA Civil Code § 43.3). 

For more information about the rights of parenting youth in school, please visit the California Pregnant and Parenting Youth Guide, which is a resource developed by the National Partnership for Women and Families. It includes answers to many questions related to the rights of pregnant and parenting youth, including questions specific to foster care.