Act 91 FAQs: Voluntary Placement Agreements & Resumption of Jurisdiction
This FAQ represents the interpretation of Juvenile Law Center. We will update this FAQ as we learn new information, so please check back frequently for updates. For more information, please contact Jenny Pokempner at Juvenile Law Center at (215) 625-0551, ext. 111., or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can a youth re-enter care through entering a voluntary placement agreement (VPA) with the county children and youth agency?
Yes. Youth can re-enter care through a voluntary placement agreement (VPA). A VPA may be an ideal way to handle at least two situations that may arise in resumption of jurisdiction cases:
- A situation where the youth has immediate and emergent needs that cannot wait 30 days.
- A situation where either the youth or the agency need more time to establish eligibility or gather documentation of eligibility for resumption of jurisdiction and the agency wants to provide placement and services in the interim.
Can VPAs be used to assist youth as they work to establish eligibility for resumption of jurisdiction?
Yes. While the activity requirements, and the exception, are broad enough to encompass most of the situations that youth will face, entering into a VPA with the youth may be appropriate when they truly do not yet meet one of the activity requirements, but are otherwise eligible. Entering into a VPA with the youth would allow the children and youth agency to provide placement and services immediately as they work with the youth to establish eligibility. Because the youth must be fulfilling one of the activity requirements or the exception for the court to grant a motion to resume jurisdiction, the 30 days of the VPA should be used for activities such as: school enrollment, assistance with job searching, help with enrollment in training programs or other independent living skill building programs, and gathering records that document a disability. Because many youth who seek re-entry may be in difficult or crisis situations, such as homelessness or facing unmet health needs, it is likely that they will be willing to meet one of the activity requirements, but may need help doing so.
The children and youth agency should be prepared for these situations and work with their IL program and other community resources to develop effective ways to assist the youth to reconnect with education, work or treatment, depending on the youth’s wishes and needs so that eligibility can be established as soon as possible..