Eligibility

General Eligibility

A non-minor dependent—defined as a current dependent child or ward of the juvenile court, or a nonminor under the transition jurisdiction of the juvenile court, who satisfies all of the following criteria: (2) has attained 18 years of age while under an order of foster care placement by the juvenile court, and is not more than 21 years of age; (2) is in foster care under the placement and care responsibility of the county welfare department, county probation department, Indian tribe, consortium of tribes, or tribal organization; and (3) has a transitional independent living case plan pursuant to Section 475(8) of the federal Social Security Act, Cal. Welf & Inst. Code § 11400(v)— shall meet the legal authority for placement and care by being under a foster care placement order by the juvenile court, or the voluntary reentry agreement, and is otherwise eligible for AFDC-FC payments. Payments shall continue if the nonminor is (1) completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential, (2) enrolled in an institution which provides postsecondary or vocational education; (3) participating in a program or activity designed to promote, or remove barriers to, employment; (4) employed for at least 80 hours per month; or (5) unable to engage in activities 1-4 due to a medical condition. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 11403(b).

Extension Process

Voluntary Care Agreement Requirement

Youth must sign a Mutual Agreement to remain in extended care. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 11401(3).Youth must sign a Voluntary Reentry Agreement to reenter care. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 11403(c).

Contents of Voluntary Care Agreement

The Mutual Agreement documents the nonminor's continued willingness to remain in supervised out-of-home placement under the placement and care of the responsible county, tribe, consortium of tribes, or tribal organization that has entered into an agreement with the state, remain under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court as a nonminor dependent, and report any change of circumstances relevant to continued eligibility for foster care payments, and that documents the nonminor's and social worker's or probation officer's agreement to work together to facilitate implementation of the mutually developed supervised placement agreement and transitional independent living case plan. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 11400(u)(1).

The Voluntary Reentry Agreement documents the youth’s desire and willingness to reenter foster care, to be placed in a supervised setting under the placement and care responsibility of the placing agency; the youth’s desire, willingness, and ability to immediately participate in one or more of conditions (1) – (5) above; the youth’s agreement to work collaboratively with the placing agency to develop his or her transitional independent living case plan within 60 days of reentry; the youth’s agreement to report any changes of circumstances relevant to continued eligibility for foster care payments; and the youth’s agreement to participate in filing a petition for juvenile court jurisdiction. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 11400(z).

Direct Payment to Youth

Youth may receive all foster care maintenance payments directly if the youth is living independently in a supervised placement and the youth and agency have signed a mutual agreement. § 11403(d); See also Cal. Dep’t of Social Services, All County Letter No. 11-77, Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18: Part Two (Placement) (Nov. 18, 2011) (detailing placement procedures for non-minor dependents).

Re-Entry

Eligibility & Procedure

A nonminor who has not yet attained 21 years of age and who exited foster care at or after the age of majority, may petition the court pursuant to resume dependency jurisdiction over himself or herself or to assume transition jurisdiction over himself or herself. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 303(c).

The youth must sign a voluntary reentry agreement. § 11043(c).

The voluntary reentry agreement documents the youth’s desire and willingness to reenter foster care, to be placed in a supervised setting under the placement and care responsibility of the placing agency; the youth’s desire, willingness, and ability to immediately participate in one or more of conditions (1) – (5) above; the youth’s agreement to work collaboratively with the placing agency to develop his or her transitional independent living case plan within 60 days of reentry; the youth’s agreement to report any changes of circumstances relevant to continued eligibility for foster care payments; and the youth’s agreement to participate in filing a petition for juvenile court jurisdiction. § 11400(z).

A nonminor who is over 18 years of age and, who while a minor was a dependent child or ward of the juvenile court when a guardianship was established pursuant to Section 360 or 366.26, or subdivision (d), of Section 728, and whose juvenile court dependency or wardship was dismissed following the establishment of the guardianship may also be eligible for re-entry if (1) the nonminor former dependent was receiving aid pursuant to Kin-GAP under Article 4.5 (commencing with Section 11360) or Article 4.7 (commencing with Section 11385), the nonminor former dependent was receiving aid pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 11405, or the nonminor was receiving adoption assistance payments as specified in Chapter 2.1 (commencing with Section 16115) of Part 3.2 and (2) the nonminor's former guardian or adoptive parent dies, or no longer provides ongoing support to, and no longer receives benefits on behalf of, the nonminor after the nonminor turns 18 years of age but before the nonminor turns 21 years of age. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 11403(c).

The youth must sign a voluntary reentry agreement, as described above. Id.

Courts & Rights

Court Oversight of Extended Care

The court may retain jurisdiction over any person who is found to be a ward or a dependent child of the juvenile court until the person reaches age 21. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 303(a).

Termination of Extended Care

The dependency court shall not terminate jurisdiction over a nonminor unless a hearing is conducted pursuant to Section 391 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 391(a).

At any hearing for a nonminor at which the court is considering termination of the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, the county welfare department shall do all of the following: (1) Ensure that the dependent nonminor is present in court, unless the nonminor does not wish to appear in court, and elects a telephonic appearance, or document reasonable efforts made by the county welfare department to locate the nonminor when the nonminor is not available; (2) Submit a report describing whether it is in the nonminor's best interests to remain under the court's dependency jurisdiction, which includes a recommended transitional independent living case plan for the nonminor when the report describes continuing dependency jurisdiction as being in the nonminor's best interest; (3); If the county welfare department recommends termination of the court's dependency jurisdiction, submit documentation of the reasonable efforts made by the department to provide the nonminor with the assistance needed to meet or maintain eligibility as a nonminor dependent; and (4) If the nonminor has indicated that he or she does not want dependency jurisdiction to continue, the report shall address the manner in which the nonminor was advised of his or her options, including the benefits of remaining in foster care, and of his or her right to reenter foster care and to file a petition to resume dependency jurisdiction prior to attaining 21 years of age. § 391(b).

The court shall continue dependency jurisdiction over a nonminor who meets the definition of a nonminor dependent unless the court finds either of the following: (A) That the nonminor does not wish to remain subject to dependency jurisdiction; or (B) That the nonminor is not participating in a reasonable and appropriate transitional independent living case plan. § 391(c)(1).

The court may terminate its jurisdiction over a nonminor if the court finds after reasonable and documented efforts the nonminor cannot be located. § 391(d)(1).

When terminating dependency jurisdiction, the court shall maintain general jurisdiction over the nonminor to allow for the filing of a petition to resume dependency jurisdiction until the nonminor attains 21 years of age, although no review proceedings shall be required. § 391(d)(2). See generally § 391 (setting forth additional requirements for terminating dependency jurisdiction).

Subsidies

Eligibility for Extended Adoption Assistance

Adoption assistance is available if payments commenced after youth’s 16th birthday and youth meets conditions (1)-(5) under Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 11403(a). Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 16120(b)(3).

Adoption assistance may also continue until age 21 if the youth’s physical or mental disability warrants continued assistance. § 16120(b)(2).

Eligibility for Extended Guardianship Assistance

Youth are eligible for kinship guardian assistance payments until age 21 if payments commenced before youth’s 16th birthday and youth meet conditions (1)-(5) under Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 11403(a) or until age 19 or graduation, whichever comes first, if payments commenced after youth’s 16th birthday and youth is expected to complete high school or an equivalent program before turning 19. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 11403.01.

Kinship guardian assistance payments may also continue until age 21 if the youth’s physical or mental disability warrants continued assistance. § 11363(c)(2).

Youth are eligible for nonrelated guardianship assistance until age 21 if the youth meets conditions (1)-(5) above. § 11405(e)(1).