Presentation on theme: "INDEPENDENT LIVING Providing a Seamless Transition to Youth Aging Out of Foster Care."— Presentation transcript:
INDEPENDENT LIVING Providing a Seamless Transition to Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
Role of Guardian Ad Litem Program Best Interests Representation in the IL arena – Rights driven area of law – What does it mean to represent a child’s “best interests” in IL arena? – An “open ended and potentially vague term” Washington State v. Keffeler, 537 U.S. 371, 390 (2003). – Staff conflict cases
Transition Issues Education – Payment Employment – Finding a Job Having a home – Food, Furniture, and Money – Mentor Services – Agency for Persons with Disabilities – Mental Health/Substance Abuse
Transition Issues Medical/Dental Problems Social Security Benefits – Application Guardian of the person/property Last Minute Changes Actual Receipt of Services – Structure of Service Provision – Independent Living Budget
Florida’s Independent Living Scheme Pre-Transition – Pre-Independent Living and Life Skills Services – Subsidized Independent Living Services – Education and Job Planning Transition – Road to Independence Program – Aftercare Support Services – Transitional Support Services – Extension of Jurisdiction
Pre-independent Living and Life Skills Services, (4)(a)(b) Pre-independent Living Services – 13 or 14 years old living in foster care – Annual staffing – Pre-independent Living Assessment – Services include, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, life skills training, educational field trips, and conferences. – Report shall be signed by child.
Pre-independent Living and Life Skills Services Life Skills Services – 15 through 17 years old living in foster care – Staffing every six months “to ensure that the appropriate independent living training and services…are being received and to evaluate the progress of the child in developing the needed independent living skills.” – Life Skills Assessment – Independent Living Assessment post 17 th birthday – Report shall be signed by child.
Pre-independent Living and Life Skills Services Facts: Child lives in group home. CBC contracted to provide IL training, but group home provides the IL training. Issue: Is the training received by child contemplated by the Legislature?
Subsidized Independent Living Services Living arrangement allowing the child to live independent of adult daily care and supervision in unlicensed setting. Services are “part of an overall plan leading to the total independence of the child from the department’s supervision.” Subsidy payments may be made directly to the child or to adult approved by DCF.
Subsidized Independent Living Services (4)(c) When 16 or 17 years old, MUST be “evaluated for placement in subsidized living arrangement” if: – Adjudicated Dependent – Placed in licensed out-of-home care for prior 6 months – Has permanency goal of adoption, independent living, or long-term licensed care – Demonstrates IL skills as determined by DCF using established procedures and assessments
Subsidized Independent Living Services Facts: Child is 16 years old and has lived in licensed out-of-home care since she was 11. Child has been adjudicated dependent. The Case Plan goal is APPLA. DCF has approved her for services. Child lives in community where DCF has no established relationships with landlords. Issue: Will child be blocked from receiving eligible services?
Education and Job Planning (3)(b) Department of Children and Families and Community Based Care Provider are to help ensure children in foster care aged 13+ are ready for postsecondary education and the workplace. Once child is 14, Case Plan shall include an educational and career path based upon “the abilities and interests of each child.” Child is included in development of this path and may change path based upon changing needs. Case Plan reviewed “at each judicial hearing.”
Education and Job Planning Child SHALL choose either: – Attending 4 year college – Receiving 2 year degree – Attaining postsecondary career and technical certificate – Beginning immediate employment after completing high school, receiving GED, or enlisting in military
Education and Job Planning Facts: Child is behind two years in school, but remains on standard diploma track with a 2.0 GPA. Child will age out in five months and wants to complete her high school education. She wants to be a nurse. Issue: Child’s school and DCM want to change her track from diploma to GED. Must child agree to the change?
Road to Independence Program (5)(b) Created to help former foster children receive educational and vocational training needed to achieve independence. Maximum benefit determined by youth’s living and educational needs, but not to exceed an amount equal to 40 hour work week payable at federal minimum wage. Minimum payment $25. Benefit calculation must consider grants, scholarships, waivers, earnings, and other income to be received by youth. Benefits terminated when child attains one of four postsecondary goals under (3) or reaches 23 years.
Road to Independence Program Eligible: – Initial award, years old OR has earned standard diploma/equivalent or special diploma/ certificate of completion – Renewal award, under 23 years of age --Dependent child living in foster care or subsidized independent living when turn 18; is currently in licensed foster care or SIL; or is at least 16, adopted or placed with guardian; AND has spent minimum of 6 months in foster care immediately preceding such placement or adoption
Road to Independence Program Eligible: – At least 6 months living in foster care before turning 18 – Resident of Florida – And one of the following: Earned diploma/equivalent or special diploma/certificate of completion AND has been admitted for full-time enrollment into eligible postsecondary education institution Enrolled full time in accredited high school OR Enrolled full time in accredited adult education program
Road to Independence Program Full time student is determined by educational institution, not DCF or CBC. Must have recognized disability to not attend full time. Renewed annually 90 days prior to next birthday. Renewal award eligibility: – Complete full time education hours for past year – “Maintain appropriate progress” as required by educational institution – One time reinstatement allowed for youth not qualifying for renewal or who has chosen not to renew. Restore eligibility: – Improve progress to level required by educational institution
Road to Independence Program Facts: Child is 17 years old and has lived in foster care for three months. Her IL Plan calls for her to remain with her foster family paying rent using her Road to Independence Program benefits. Two months later, she aged out living in foster care. Issue: Is she eligible for these benefits?
Road to Independence Program Facts: Youth turned 18 last week. He lived in foster care for 2 years after being adjudicated dependent. He now lives with his cousin into whose home he moved a week before turning 18. He applied for Road to Independence Program benefits. Issue: Is he eligible for these benefits?
Road to Independence Program Facts: Youth receives RTI. After turning 19, he moved out of State to attend college. Issue: Does he remain eligible for RTI benefits? Facts: Youth lived out of state with a relative who was a licensed foster care placement. Issue: Is child eligible for RTI benefits?
Road to Independence Program Facts: Youth receives RTI and attends school regularly. She’s pregnant. When she has her baby, her doctor wants her to remain at home for 6 weeks. Issue: Will she continue to receive RTI?
Aftercare Support Services (5)(a) Services include, BUT NOT LIMITED TO: – Mentoring/Tutoring – Mental Health/Substance Abuse counseling – Life skills and Parenting classes – Job, Career, and Financial Literacy Skills Training – Temporary financial assistance – Temporary assistance to prevent homelessness
Aftercare Support Services Eligible: – years old and services requested before 23 – Leaves foster care at 18 Eligibility determined by DCF Services provided by DCF or community Services determined by needs assessment
Aftercare Support Services Facts: Youth received Aftercare Support Services immediately after turning 18 in order to move into an apartment. Youth has now moved again and needs further assistance. Issue: Are these services a 1 time payment? Additional Facts: Youth’s home needs maintenance repairs. Issue: Can these services be used? Additional Facts: Child was in foster care for 5 months. Issue: Is child eligible for these services?
Transitional Support Services (5)(c) “Appropriate short-term funding and services, which may include”: – Financial – Housing – Counseling – Employment – Education – Mental health – Disability – Other
Transitional Support Services Eligible: – years old – Formerly in foster care – Dependent child under chapter 39 – Living in licensed foster care OR subsidized independent living when turns 18 – At least 6 months in foster care before turning 18 Eligibility determined by DCF
Transitional Support Services Youth must demonstrate that services are CRITICAL to his/her own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and to develop personal support system. Services terminate when no longer critically needed. DCF/CBC work with Youth to develop Joint Transition Plan based on needs assessment. Plan includes tasks for which youth is accountable and to complete.
Transitional Support Services Facts: Youth has critical need for financial services, but is not in school. Issue: Is youth eligible for services?
Judicial Review Within 90 days after 17 th birthday, disability of nonage shall be removed to allow youth to sign lease. JR’s as often as possible until 18 Child shall be given opportunity to address court After 17, Case Plan must include provided IL services since 13 or foster care Court may issue Order to Show Cause
Judicial Review DCF shall verify that child has received: – Medicaid card, birth certificate, FL ID, – Training on budgeting, banking skills, interviewing and parenting – Has open bank account or ID necessary to open – “Clear understanding” of where she will be living, how living expenses will be paid, and what school she will attend
Judicial Review – Giving notice of right to petition for extended jurisdiction and encouraged to attend all JR’s after 17 – Information on Eligible benefits, including RTI Accessing Master Trust funds Public Assistance
Extension of Jurisdiction (1) Jurisdiction retained until child turns 18 UNLESS – Youth petitions the court ANYTIME before 19 th birthday requesting continued jurisdiction – Court MAY retain jurisdiction until 19 th birthday to determine whether a child in care before 18 th birthday has been provided APPROPRIATE Aftercare/Transitional Support Services Road to Independence Program Services Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities Services
Extension of Jurisdiction Misconception: Extension of Jurisdiction absolutely necessary for provision of services Benefit: Gives youth support during transition
Extension of Jurisdiction Facts: GAL attorney represents the Program. The volunteer represents the best interests of the child. Issue: Does GAL attorney file motion to extend jurisdiction? Additional Fact: Child has IQ of 50. Issue: Same question.
Actual Receipt of Services Understand working relationship between DCM and ILCM – Who does what and when Structure of Service Provision – Community Based Care Provider’s Contract with the Department – Subcontractor’s Contract with Community Based Care Provider
Actual Receipt of Services Independent Living Budget – Impact on service availability – Impact on service eligibility – Impact on service delivery
Advocating to Solve Transition Issues Child’s participation in planning and Court hearings Understand child’s needs Plan Ahead Make sure child understands rights – Example: School enrollment vs. attendance
Advocating to Solve Transition Issues Know: – Independent Living Law and Rules – Available IL and Other Benefits and Services – Independent Living Placements – Service Provision Structure – GALP website resources Ensure IL Plan in place before 18 th birthday Assist beyond 18 th birthday
Advocating to Solve Transition Issues Develop relationship with director of: – Local DCF Office – Local Community Based Care provider – Local Independent Living Service provider – Local Agency for Persons with Disability Establish: – Relationship with: CBC Revenue/Benefits Department Community Service Providers – IL Stakeholder Group Design and Establish IL Court – Judges Baumann, Blanc and others
Advocating to Solve Transition Issues Establish a Proactive Litigation Design – Active motion practice Resolve all eligibility issues with Court orders so in transition no one case question eligibility – Develop working relationship with Children’s Legal Services – Attorney/Volunteer Meeting Schedule – Active Volunteer Assignment and Court Presence Assign volunteer relatable to teen
Advocating to Solve Transition Issues Understand: – Impact of legal permanent residency status upon receipt of benefits – Continuation of SSI and SSA benefits – Impact of developmental disability on child receiving services Representative Payee Guardian of person/property APD Services – Crisis Waiver