Can a county require additional participation conditions for EFC?

Q: I’m finishing high school and participating in Extended Foster Care. I was told that in order to stay in Extended Foster Care in my county, that just going to school wasn’t enough, and that I had to also be working or participating in an extra-curricular activity to show that I’m motivated and making progress. I thought going to school fulfilled a participation condition, allowing me to continue in Extended Foster Care as long as I meet all other eligibility requirements? Has something changed?

A: No, nothing has changed. You are correct.

To participate in Extended Foster Care, a youth must:

(1) have an order for foster care placement on his/her 18th birthday;[1]

(2) continue under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court as a dependent, under transitional jurisdiction or as a ward;[2]

(3) meet one of the five participation conditions;[3]

(4) agree to live in a supervised placement that is licensed or approved under the standards for 18 to 21 year olds;[4] and

(5) sign a mutual agreement (note: this is not a condition of payment),[5] meet with his/her social worker or probation officer every month,[6] and participate in six‐month review hearings.[7]

The participation conditions are as follows:

(1) Completing high school or equivalent program (i.e. GED) (enrollment is defined according to the definition employed by the school or program); OR

(2) Enrolled in college, community college or a vocational education program (half‐time enrollment, as the college, community college or vocational program defines half‐time enrollment); OR

(3) Participating in a program or activity designed to remove barriers to employment (this is the “safety net” category which is intended to capture all youth who are not eligible under the employment or education conditions) OR

(4) Employed at least 80 hours a month (this must be paid employment); OR

(5) Unable to do one of the above requirements because of a medical condition (short‐ or long‐term medical or mental health condition as verified by a health practitioner but youth does not have to be currently seeking treatment).[8]

By being enrolled in high school or an equivalent program, you are meeting one of the participation conditions for Extended Foster Care. A county cannot discharge a youth from Extended Foster Care for failing to meet additional requirements beyond what is required by law.

Citations:

[1] Welfare & Institutions Code (WIC) § 11400(v)

[2] WIC § 11400(v)

[3] WIC § 11403(b)

[4] WIC § 11402 et seq.

[5] WIC §§ 303(d), 11400(u); All County Letter 11‐61

[6] 42 U.S.C. § 622(b)(17); ACYF-CB-PI-10-11 (p. 11)

[7] WIC § 366.3(m)

[8] WIC § 11403(b)(5); All County Letters 11‐61 and 11‐69

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