Category Archives: Eligibility

How Does Adult Adoption of a Non-minor Dependent Impact Extended Foster Care Eligibility?

Q: I am working with a nonminor dependent in a Supervised Independent Living Placement who is residing with a supportive adult mentor. The youth’s mentor has offered to adopt him, but they would like to better understand how an adult adoption would impact the youth’s eligibility for extended foster care. Would he still be in extended foster care? Would any circumstances change? 

A: No, if the youth is adopted, he would no longer be in extended foster care – his case would be closed. There are a number of factors to consider, along with the youth’s desire for permanency and the perceived stability of this permanency option. Below are the tangible circumstances that would change if he chose to proceed with the adult adoption:

  • Child welfare agency & court supervision: He would no longer have a court-appointed attorney, monthly visits with a county social worker, or six-month court review hearings.
  • Access to placement options: He would no longer have the option of a foster care placement such as a foster home, relative caregiver, Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) or Transitional Housing Placement Program for Nonminor Dependents (THPP-NMD); nor the supportive services associated with some placements (i.e. THPP-NMD).
  • Financial support: The financial support he would be eligible for would be an Adoptions Assistance Program (AAP) payment, which would go to his adoptive parent(s). AAP, like foster care, was extended to age 21 by Assembly Bill 12. The monthly AAP rate is the basic rate, which is $1,000 in FY 2019-20, and can be increased to $1,112, $1,225, or $1,337, depending on the needs of the youth and as negotiated with the county.[1] He would no longer receive a monthly foster care payment. In his current placement—a SILP—this payment amount is the basic rate ($1,000 in FY 2019-20) and can go to him directly.
  • Support beyond age 21: He would maintain his eligibility for the THP-Plus program for former foster youth, which provides affordable housing and supportive services. Youth who were in foster care on or after their 18th birthdays are eligible for THP-Plus once they exit care for up to 24 months between the ages of 18 and 24 (up to 36 months and/or age 25 if in school, in counties that have opted into the THP-Plus extension).[2]
  • Health care: As a former foster youth who was in care on his 18th birthday, he would maintain his eligibility for Medi-Cal up to age 26.[3]
  • Educational financial aid:
    • He would maintain eligibility for independent student status because he was in foster care after turning 13. Independent students are not required to include any parental income on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid; aid is calculated based on the student’s income only, therefore usually making them eligible for all need-based aid.
    • He would also maintain eligibility for the Chafee Education and Training Voucher, which provides up to $5,000 per year to youth who were in foster care between age 16 and 18.[4]
    • Lastly, he would be eligible for special exemptions and rules that apply to current and former foster youth for the Cal Grant[5] and the California Community College Promise Grant.[6]

Citation:

[1] California Department of Social Services. All County Letter 19-58 (June 28, 2019). https://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/ACL/2019/19-58_ES.pdf

[2] Welfare & Institutions Code §11403.2(2)

[3] For information about health care coverage for former foster youth up to age 26, visit Children Now’s website: http://coveredtil26.childrennow.org/

[4] California Student Aid Commission. https://www.chafee.csac.ca.gov/

[5] California Student Aid Commission. Special Alert: Cal Grant B Eligibility Expansion for Foster Youth-Update (July, 8, 2019). https://www.csac.ca.gov/sites/default/files/file-attachments/gsa_2019-19.pdf

[6] John Burton Advocates for Youth. Financial Aid Guide for California Foster Youth. https://www.jbaforyouth.org/ca-fy-financial-aid-guide/ (see page 5 for financial aid eligibility – foster youth are not subject to Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for the California Community College Promise Grant).

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Former Foster Youth with Non-Related Legal Guardians Qualify for Medi-Cal to Age 26

Q: I’m working with a former foster youth who was in a Non-Related Legal Guardianship (NRLG). Is this youth eligible for extended Medi-Cal to age 26, given she was in a NRLG?

A: If this former foster youth moved into the Non-Related Legal Guardianship (NRLG) and remained under the care and placement of the state or tribe, he or she is eligible for extended Medi-Cal benefits.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, California passed a law in 2013 allowing youth who were in foster care on their 18th birthday or later to qualify for free Medi-Cal until age 26. All County Welfare Directors Letter (ACWDL) 19-08 explains that a youth moved into a NRLG who remains under the care and placement of the state or tribe is eligible for extended Medi-Cal benefits under the Former Foster Youth Program.

Citation: California Department of Health Care Service. All County Welfare Directors Letter 19-08 (2019). https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/eligibility/Documents/ACWDL/2019/19-08.pdf

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County Policies on Out-of-County Youth in THP-Plus

Q: I work with a non-minor dependent who is turning 21 soon and is interested in moving across the state. This young person has encountered some significant challenges over the last couple of years and is a new parent. She could really benefit from some extended support beyond 21. Would it be possible for her to access a THP-Plus program outside her county of jurisdiction?

A: Yes, nearly all 47 counties with THP-Plus programs accept out-of-county youth in their program, pending openings. John Burton Advocates for Youth maintains a webpage that lists which counties accept out-of-county youth in their THP-Plus program here: https://www.jbaforyouth.org/out-of-county-youth-thp-plus/. This webpage was just updated in March 2019 to reflect counties’ current policies.

Because waiting lists can be quite long, it would be best to reach out to the program sooner than later so that if there is a waiting list, she can get on it. She should also make sure and tell the program that she is a custodial parent so that they are aware of her housing needs.

Citation: https://www.jbaforyouth.org/out-of-county-youth-thp-plus/

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List of Counties that Have Opted into the THP-Plus Extension

Q: I’m currently nearing the end of my 24 months in the THP-Plus program. I’m working on getting my AA degree, and would really like to stay in the program until I finish. I’ve heard that some counties allow youth to remain in THP-Plus for an additional 12 months if they are in school. How do I find out whether my county offers this?

A: You are correct. Senate Bill 1252 (Torres) established the option for counties to extend their THP-Plus programs for youth enrolled in school for an additional 12 months and up to the age of 25. This law went into effect January 1, 2015.

Currently, 27 counties have opted into the THP-Plus extension. These counties are listed, along with additional information about the THP-Plus extension on the JBAY website at the following URL: https://www.jbaforyouth.org/thp-plus-extension/

Citation:

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CalGrant Extension

Q: I heard that foster youth can now receive a CalGrant for eight years instead of four years under a bill passed this year by the legislature. If a foster youth is already receiving a CalGrant, can they still get the full eight years or is it only for students who get new awards moving forward?

A: All foster youth who otherwise qualify can receive the grant for the full eight years, regardless of whether they are already receiving a CalGrant or not. Representatives from the California Student Aid Commission shared this on a webinar last week. To view the entire webinar, CLICK HERE.

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Non-Minor Dependents in the Military

Q: I’m working with a youth who is interested in joining the military. Can he still participate in extended foster care if he enlists?

A: He can participate in extended foster care as long as he is not on active duty in the military. A person who is on active duty is a full-time member of the military, and this includes the period of basic training (also known as boot camp).

Persons in the military reserves or National Guard are considered part-time military personnel, and so they are not on active duty and are eligible for extended foster care benefits (if all other extended foster care eligibility requirements are met) until called upon to serve in active duty.

Youth who are enlisted in the military but not on active duty (including those participating in a ROTC program), are eligible for extended foster care except during extended training if the military program does not allow a social worker/probation officer to conduct monthly visitation and supervision during this time. The youth would be eligible to re-enter foster care as soon as caseworker visitation can resume.

Citation: California Department of Social Services. All County Letter No. 18-101, Eligibility for Extended Foster Care (EFC) For Married Youth and Youth Performing Non-Active Duty Military Service, (September 12, 2018). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/ACL/2018/18-101.pdf

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Work Requirements for THP-Plus

Q:  I’m working with a homeless former foster youth who attempted to access housing through our local THP-Plus program, but he was told by a social worker that he did not meet the work requirements to enter the program. Is this part of the THP-Plus eligibility requirements? 

A: No, work requirements are not part of THP-Plus eligibility. Youth eligible for the THP-Plus program:

  • are at least 18 years of age and not more than 24 years of age*
  • have exited from the foster care system on or after his or her 18th birthday
  • have not previously received services through THP-Plus for more than a total of 24 months, whether or not consecutive*
  • *a county may, at its option, extend THP-Plus to a former foster youth not more than 25 years of age, and for a total of 36 months if they are completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential, or enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary education.

As a condition of participation in THP-Plus, the youth shall enter into a Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP) that shall be mutually agreed upon, and annually reviewed by the youth and county welfare or probation department or independent living program coordinator.

While many youth may have employment or education listed as a goal in their TILP, there is no blanket work or school requirement as a condition of THP-Plus eligibility, and there is a high likelihood that youth entering the program are not yet meeting the goals in their TILP, but are working toward them.

Citation: Welfare & Institutions Code 11403.2(a)(2)

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Chafee Application Now Available to Youth Up to Age 26

Q: I heard that the age eligibility for the Chafee grant has been increased so that older youth in college can receive a Chafee grant. When is this going to become available?

A: You are correct. Eligibility for the Chafee grant in California has been expanded so that youth can apply for Chafee if they have not reached their 26th birthday as of July 1st of the award year, and are otherwise Chafee-eligible.*

Funding for the eligibility expansion was included in the 2018-19 State Budget. While the changes to eligibility were included in a budget trailer bill (AB 1811), taking immediate effect on July 1, 2018, students meeting the expanded eligibility requirements were not able to apply for Chafee until October 2018. The updated application is now available at:   https://www.chafee.csac.ca.gov/StudentApplication.aspx.

*To qualify for a Chafee grant, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a current or former foster youth who was a ward of the court, living in foster care, for at least one day between the ages of 16 and 18.
  • If you are/were in Kin-GAP, a non-related legal guardianship, or were adopted, you are eligible only if you were a dependent or ward of the court, living in foster care, for at least one day between the ages of 16 and 18.
  • Have not reached your 26th birthday as of July 1st of the award year.
  • Have not participated in the program for more than 5 years (whether or not consecutive).

Pursuant to Assembly Bill 2506, starting with the 2017-18 award year, you can only receive your Chafee Grant if you attend a school that is either of the following:

  • A qualifying institution that is eligible for participation in the Cal Grant Program.
  • An institution that is not located in California with a three-year cohort default rate that is less than 15.5 percent and a graduation rate greater than 30 percent.

Citation:

 

CalFresh Student Eligibility: Approved Programs to Increase Employability

Q: I understand that participation in certain foster youth campus support programs can exempt youth from the CalFresh eligibility restrictions placed on college students. What if a former foster youth enrolled in college is participating in a campus support program that is not named in ACL 15-70, ACL 17-05 or the state’s additional list of exempting programs to increase employability, but essentially provides the same services as Guardian Scholars-type programs?

A: A program not currently on the California Department of Social Services’ (CDSS) list of eligible programs may submit a request to add their program by completing the form provided by CDSS, “Request for Approval of Local Educational Programs that Increase Employability.” This form can be found by visiting: http://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/CalFresh-Resource-Center / “Policy Guidance” / “More Guidance.” For CDSS’ list of eligible programs, go to http://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/CalFresh-Resource-Center and click on “CalFresh Student Eligibility: Approved Programs to Increase Employability.”

To be defined as a program to increase employability, the program must assist in gaining the skills, training, work, or experience that will increase the student’s ability to obtain regular employment, such as job retention, job search, job search training, work experience, workfare, vocational training, self-employment training, on-the-job training and education.

This question and answer are included in JBAY’s newly updated Frequently Asked Questions: Non-Minor Dependents & CalFresh document. Download the FAQ HERE.

Citation:

California Department of Social Services. All County Letter 15-70 (September 17, 2015). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/lettersnotices/EntRes/getinfo/acl/2015/15-70.pdf.

California Department of Social Services. All County Letter 17-05 (February 14, 2017). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/ACL/2017/17-05.pdf?ver=2017-02-15-111331-970.

 

Married Youth’s Eligibility for Extended Foster Care

Q: I am nonminor dependent (NMD) who recently got married. Am I eligible to still participate in extended foster care?

A. Yes, you are eligible to enter, re-enter, and remain in Extended Foster Care. This was recently addressed the All County Letter 18-101 disseminated by the California Department of Social Services, stated below:

“In a recent published decision, In re H.C. (2017) 17 Cal.App.5th 1261, the Fourth District
Court of Appeals found that marriage does not exclude a youth from EFC eligibility in either
federal law or California statute. This ruling has mandatory authority over lower courts in
California.

As a result…if otherwise eligible, NMDs may now enter, re-enter or remain in EFC if they are married or get married. Married youth in EFC shall be subject to the same Title IV-E supervision requirements as any other NMD and they are eligible for the same placement options, if available and appropriate.”

Citation: California Department of Social Services. All County Letter No. 18-101, Eligibility for Extended Foster Care (EFC) For Married Youth and Youth Performing Non-Active Duty Military Service, (September 12, 2018). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/ACL/2018/18-101.pdf