Category Archives: Extended Foster Care

Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) and Intensive Services Foster Care (ISFC)

Q: What is the difference between Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) and Intensive Services Foster Care (ISFC)?

A: The Therapeutic Family Care (TFC) service model allows for the provision of short‐term, intensive, highly coordinated, trauma-informed and individualized Specialty Mental Health Service activities (plan development, rehabilitation and collateral) to children and youth up to age 21 who have complex emotional and behavioral needs and who are placed with trained, intensely supervised and supported TFC parents.

Intensive Services Foster Care (ISFC) is a state licensed Foster Family Agency model for eligible foster children, youth and Non-Minor Dependents who require specially trained resource parents and intensive services and support to remain in a home ‐based setting, or to avoid or exit congregate care in a short ‐term residential therapeutic program, group home, or out ‐of‐state residential center.

Still confused or want more  information? If so, attend a web seminar on Wednesday,  May 30th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  hosted by the Department of Healthcare Services the California Department of Social Services to explain the differences between these two important programs. The webinar will help counties and providers understand TFC and ISFC requirements, including similarities and differences between them, and how ITFC and TFC can support children, youth, and their families.

Slides and resource materials will be e-mailed to registered participants prior to the webinar.  To register, follow this link.

Source: WIC §18360 et seq, All County Letter I-91-17 and accompanying toolkit.

IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter

Q: I assisted an 18-year-old with her FAFSA. She reported on her FAFSA that she didn’t file taxes, but is now being asked by her college to submit an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter. I’ve never heard of this form before. How do I assist the student with submitting it? 

A: The FAFSA now uses “prior-prior” year tax data, so for the 2018-2019 school year, 2016 taxes would be used. Many students do not file taxes because they have earned less than the standard deduction. Students applying for the 2018-2019 academic school year who did not file taxes may now be required to submit an IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter. This letter confirms that the IRS has not received a federal income tax return from the individual. The Verification of Nonfiling Letter is not an indication that the person is not required to file a return, just that they did not file one.

To obtain an IRS Verification of NonFiling Letter, the student will need to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript. This can be a complicated process and many students will need assistance.

1. A student can request their transcript online at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript. Through this website the student can either have their transcript sent to them online or via mail.

  • To obtain a transcript online, the student must satisfy certain security requirements such as owning a cell phone with their name on the account and having a credit card, auto loan or mortgage in their name. These requirements may be difficult for many students to satisfy and therefore they may need to request their transcript be sent to them via mail.
  • To have the transcript mailed via the online tool, it will take 5-10 days to receive the tax transcript. Generally, there will be no address on file with the IRS if the student has never filed taxes. In this case, the letter will be mailed to the current address they provide. However, the IRS may already have the student’s address in their system, such as from W-2 or 1099 statements or a prior tax return. In this case, the mailing address on the form must match the address on file with the IRS. If the student’s current mailing address does not match the address on file with the IRS, the student should first file IRS Form 8822 to change their address, which will take approximately 10 days.
  • Students may also call the IRS automated phone transcript service at 800-908-9946 to order a tax return or tax account transcript to be sent by mail.

2. Alternately, the student can complete IRS Form 4506-T on paper, check box 7 and send this form by mail or fax. On line 5 of IRS Form 4506-T the student can specify that the Verification of Nonfiling Letter be sent to a third-party address. In most cases the student should have it sent to themselves, not directly to the college. However, it is best to ask each college what they prefer. If a student submits this paper form by mail, it will take 7-14 days to be processed.

Note that there is no fee for obtaining the Verification of Nonfiling Letter or a tax transcript. If the student says there is a $50 fee, they are filing the wrong form. The form that is required is IRS Form 4506-T, not IRS Form 4506.

Appeal Process for Late Cal Grant GPA Submission

Q: I am working with a student who is counting on receiving a Cal Grant to cover his college expenses this fall. He completed his FAFSA by March 2, but his high school did not submit his Grade Point Average (GPA) by that date, as required.
 
I understand there is an appeal process for late GPA submission with an upcoming deadline of Wednesday, May 16. Any advice on submitting a successful appeal?

A: Yes, you are correct. He can still be considered for a Cal Grant, if he is successful in submitting the appeal by Wednesday, May 16th. State regulations allow Entitlement Cal Grant applicants to appeal the late submission of their Cal Grant GPA if circumstances beyond their control delayed or prevented them from submitting a verified GPA by the March 2nd filing deadline.

According to a memo from the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), if the appeal is accepted, the student will be processed for Entitlement Cal Grant award consideration and will receive correspondence from CSAC based on their application status. If the appeal is not accepted and the student is planning on attending a community college, the GPA will be retained and considered for the September 2nd Competitive Cal Grant award. Visit CSAC’s website to access the Late Cal Grant GPA Appeal Form.

Advice for completing the appeal form is to focus on factors that were beyond the student’s control, such as:

  • School did not submit the GPA in a timely manner
  • School submitted weighted GPA instead of unweighted GPA
  • Student was not aware of Cal Grant eligibility or thought themselves ineligible*
  • Student was under the impression that the school would submit the GPA on student’s behalf, however the school was not required to do so (the law requires public and charter schools to electronically upload GPAs for current high school seniors)
  • Filed the form on time, but it was lost in the mail
  • Typos on the form, such as the wrong social security number
  • Form was not signed

*In this situation in particular, it is important to fully describe how this might have occurred, including disclosing the student’s foster youth status which may indicate a lack of supportive adults or advocates to assist the student with the financial aid process. There is no guarantee that the appeal will be granted, so placing as much emphasis on the factors beyond the student’s control is recommended.

For more information on the Cal Grant GPA submission process, including how to verify whether a student’s GPA was in fact submitted, read a previous Question of the Week on the topic.

Citation:

California Student Aid Commission. Operations Memo (April 25, 2018). http://www.csac.ca.gov/sites/main/files/file-attachments/gom_2018-12.pdf

AB12 Re-entry Contacts

Q: I exited the foster care system last year after I turned 18, am now 19 and would like to re-enter. I lost my county social worker’s phone number. Who do I call if I want to re-enter?

A:You can use the AB12 re-entry contact list. Scroll down to find your county and there will be a phone number and email address to contact.

To re-enter extended foster care, you must sign a voluntary re-entry agreement (SOC 163), which provides the county with the authority for placement for 180 days. Once this is signed, foster care benefits begin the date the agreement is signed or the date that you are placed in a qualified placement, whichever is later. You must agree to satisfy one of the five participation conditions of extended foster care – which is indicated by your signing the SOC 163 – then continue to satisfy that requirement pending completion of the Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP) that documents your continuing participation.

For more information on extended foster care, visit the California Fostering Connections to Success Act section of the JBAY website.

Chafee Education and Training Voucher (ETV)

Q: I am working with a foster youth attending community college. As the summer approaches, she is worried about how to pay for housing and other living expenses. I asked, and it turns out she didn’t receive a Chafee Education and Training Voucher (ETV) for the current academic year.

Can she still get the Chafee ETV for the current academic year? Would she be eligible for any funding over the summer? Also, would a student who is enrolling for the first time at community college this summer be able to get a grant?

A: Chafee ETV funds have not yet been fully expended and she may be able to get the Chafee ETV for the 2017-18 academic year, including the upcoming summer term. New students enrolling for the first time for the summer may also be able to receive a grant. In order to apply she must submit a 2017/2018 FAFSA and a Chafee application.

The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) administers the Chafee Education and Training Voucher. CSAC will be issuing Chafee awards for students who attended school during the 2017-18 academic year through September 24, 2018. While the $14 million state budget allocation will likely run out before all approved students are granted awards, it is possible that the student you are working with could still receive a grant. If she was enrolled at least half time for the fall and spring terms this year, she could qualify for the full maximum of $5000. If she was enrolled for one term, she could qualify for $2500, plus an additional $2500 if she chooses to enroll in classes over the summer. New students enrolling for the first time for this coming summer may also be able to receive up to $2500.

The deadline to apply for this year is September 10, however the 2017/2018 FAFSA must be submitted and accepted no later than June 30, 2018 to qualify.

It is also worth it to have her to apply for a Chafee ETV for the current academic year because even if the student is not awarded a grant, it may make her a higher priority next year. According to CSAC, prioritization of applications is in part based on the date that the Chafee application is submitted. So, if the young person applies for the Chafee ETV for the 2017-18 academic year and is approved, but is not awarded a grant, that student has a higher likelihood of getting a Chafee ETV in the next academic year than if they wait until later to submit their application.

Foster Parent Upset about Condoms

Q: Katrice, a 14 year-old in foster care, asks her social worker how she can get free condoms as she is sexually active but does not want to get pregnant.  Her social worker provides Katrice with information about a local health clinic that provides free condoms, no questions asked.  Katrice visits the health clinic and gets condoms and later her foster mother finds the condoms.  The foster mother demanded to know how Katrice got the condoms, and Katrice tells her that the social worker assisted her.  The foster mother is now angry and tells the social worker that she is going to file a complaint with the county agency.

 

A:  The case manager should inform the foster parent of the youth’s right to have access to confidential reproductive health care services, including contraception.  Case managers will not have disciplinary action taken against them for doing their job and fostering the youth’s rights.  It is the case manager’s duty to provide the youth with age appropriate medically accurate information and resources about reproductive health care, unplanned pregnancy prevention, abstinence, use of birth control, abortion and the prevention and treatment of STIs.  

 

This scenario is from the CDSS-issue policy guidance, A Guide for Case Managers: Assisting Foster Youth with Sexual Development and Pregnancy, page 13.

Citation:

Summer Pell Grants

Q: I am a college student and am thinking of taking classes during the summer. Can I receive financial aid if I choose to enroll in summer courses?

A: In 2017, Congress reinstated year-round Pell, which allows students to receive up to 150 percent of a regular grant award over the course of the academic year so that they can continue taking classes in the summer and finish their degrees faster than they would otherwise. In order to qualify you must have either have submitted a FAFSA for the 2017/2018 school year and been awarded a Pell grant or, if you did not submit a FAFSA, you can still submit the 2017/2018 application before June 30 of this year.

Depending on how many units you were enrolled in during the academic year, there may be minimum unit requirements. You should be aware that Pell grant used during the summer counts towards your federal 6-year maximum and so it would not be wise to take summer classes while receiving a Pell Grant that are not required for your degree.

It is recommended that you consult with your school’s financial aid office in order to determine exactly how much aid you would qualify for and what restrictions are in place based on your particular circumstances.

Minimum Income for Filing Taxes

Q: I am working with youth to ensure they file their income taxes before the April 17 tax filing deadline. What is the minimum income level after which an individual is required to file taxes?

A: Assuming the youth is single, those who make $10,400 and over are required to file a tax return for 2017. However, even if they do not meet the minimum required income, youth should consider filing taxes if they can get money back.  According to Efile.com, an individual can get money back for the following reasons:

  • If they had taxes withheld from their pay, they must file a tax return to receive a tax refund.
  • If they qualify, they must file a return to receive the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • If they are claiming education credits, they must file to be refunded the American Opportunity Credit.
  • If they have a qualifying child but owe no tax, they can file to be refunded the Additional Child Tax Credit.
  • If they qualify, they must file to claim the refundable Health Coverage Tax Credit.
  • If they overpaid estimated tax or applied a prior year overpayment to this year, they must file to receive the refund.

For assistance with filing taxes, please visit a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site near you.  You can find a site near you by visiting www.CalEITC4Me.org and using the Free Tax Prep Finder Tool, or call the IRS at 1-800-906-9887.

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Foster Care Payments for NMDs

Q: When do foster care payments for non-minor dependents cease – the day the NMD turns 21 or at the end of their birthday month?

A: As of February 16, 2018, foster care payments for non-minor dependents (NMDs) will end no later than the day before their 21st birthday. This is a change from the previous practice of the foster care payment covering the entire month during which the NMD turned 21.

Unless you hear otherwise from your county that they intend to use county-only funding to provide a full month’s payment, be aware that the payment will be pro-rated based on the number of days in the month that preceded the NMD’s 21st birthday or preceded their juvenile court jurisdiction termination date (which in some cases may be set prior to their 21st birthday).

Citation: California Department of Social Services, All County Letter 18-15 (February 16, 2008)

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FAFSA Submission

Q: I am working with foster youth to complete their FAFSA by the March 2 deadline. How do we know it was successfully submitted and received?

A: The FAFSA form will be processed a few days after submission, and it will be indicated when you log back into FAFSA.

You can also make a correction by choosing “Make FAFSA Corrections,” or click to “View or Print your Student Aid Report (SAR).”

 

For additional resources on completing FAFSA, please review the Financial Aid Planning Guide.

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