Eligibility

General Eligibility

Youth ages 18 – 21 may choose to participate in extended foster care for education, treatment, work or other programs and services as determined appropriate by the youth and his/her Transitional Team and if: “The youth is completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential; or, The youth is enrolled in an institution which provides post-secondary or vocational education; or, The youth is participating in a program or activity designed to promote, or remove barriers to, employment; or, The youth is employed for at least 80 hours per month; or, The youth is incapable of doing any of the above described activities due to a medical condition.” Code Ark. R. 016.15.4-VIII-B.

Such youth meet the definition of “juvenile” under the Juvenile Code. Ark. Code § 9-27-303(32)(B); see also § 9-28-114 (juveniles have a right to remain in foster care after reaching 18 "for education, treatment, or work and specific programs and services”).

Re-Entry

Eligibility & Procedure

Youth may petition court to return to court’s jurisdiction if the youth was (a) adjudicated dependent or dependent-neglected; (b) was in foster care at age 18; (c) left foster care but desires to submit to court’s jurisdiction prior to age 21 to benefit from independent living or transitional services; or (d) left foster care and decides to submit to the jurisdiction of the court and return to foster care to receive transitional services. Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-306(a)(B)(ii).

Courts & Rights

Court Oversight of Extended Care

At the child’s request, the court may retain jurisdiction until age 21 over child adjudicated dependent or dependent-neglected prior to 18. The Court shall retain jurisdiction if and only if child “remains or has a viable plan to remain in [a course of] instruction or treatment, or is working at least eighty (80) hours a month toward gaining self-sufficiency.” Ark. Code § 9-27-306(a)(1)(B).

Termination of Extended Care

The court may only discontinue jurisdiction after a hearing determining that Department of Human Services has “fully complied” with statutory obligations for foster youth transition. Ark. Code § 9-27-306(a)(1)(B); see Ark. Code §§ 9-27-363, 9-28-114 (defining referenced Department obligations).

Subsidies

Eligibility for Extended Adoption Assistance

Federal adoption assistance may extend until age 21 if the child was 16 or older at adoption/time of entering guardianship agreement and is (A) Completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential; (B) enrolled in an institution which provides post-secondary or vocational education; (C) participating in a program or activity designed to promote, or remove barriers to, employment; (D) employed for at least 80 hours per month; or (E) incapable of doing any of these activities due to a medical condition. Code Ark. R. 016.15.4-VIII-I.

A state-funded adoption subsidy agreement may be extended until age 21 if the child has a documented disability or condition that prevents the child from existing independently from the adoptive family, and if the child applied for supplemental security income benefits prior to age 18 and was denied. Ark. Code § 9-9-410.

Eligibility for Extended Guardianship Assistance

Federal guardianship assistance may extend until age 21 if the child was 16 or older at adoption/time of entering guardianship agreement and is (A) completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential; (B) enrolled in an institution which provides post-secondary or vocational education; (C) participating in a program or activity designed to promote, or remove barriers to, employment; (D) employed for at least 80 hours per month; or (E) incapable of doing any of these activities due to a medical condition. Code Ark. R. 06-15.4-VIII-L (relating to guardianship assistance).

A state-funded guardianship assistance may be extended until age 21 if the child has a mental or physical handicap which warrants the continuation of assistance. Code Ark. R. 016.15.4-VIII-L.