An “older youth”—defined as “an individual who is at least 18 years of age but less than 20 years of age”, Ind. Code §31-28-5.8-4—who received foster care under a court order on the day the older youth turned 18, is eligible to remain in care until age 20 by entering into a collaborative care agreement. §31-28-5.8-5(a).
The older youth also must be a bona fide resident of Indiana and (A) employed for at least eighty (80) hours per month; (B) attending secondary school, post-secondary school, or a vocational or educational certification or degree program; (C) participating in a program or activity designed to either promote employment or remove barriers to employment; or (D) incapable of performing any of the activities in clauses (A) through (C) due to a medical condition documented by regularly updated information in the older youth's current case plan. 465 Ind. Admin. Code 2-15.1-11.
Eligibility for Justice-Involved Youth
Eligible youth include youth who are Child in Need of Services (CHINS) and Probation youth 18 years of age and older who received foster care under a court order on the day the older youth turned 18. Ind. Dep’t of Child Servs., Child Welfare Policy §18 at 1.
Voluntary Care Agreement Requirement
Eligible youth may receive extended care only after entering a collaborative care agreement. Ind. Code § 31-28-5.8-2.
Contents of Voluntary Care Agreement
The agreement must include, at a minimum, (1) terms and conditions of program participation; (2) a housing arrangement or placement of the older youth approved by the department under this program; (3) program eligibility criteria; (4) youth's choice regarding appointment of a court appointed special advocate or guardian ad litem; (5) collaborative care court requirements and expectations; (6) process and basis for voluntary and involuntary termination of the agreement; (7) rules of conduct for youth participating in the collaborative care program; and (8) effective date of youth's entry into collaborative care program. 465 Ind. Admin. Code 2-15.1-10.
Case Management Requirements
The department shall, jointly with a guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate participating with the consent of the youth and with the older youth, develop, implement, and update periodically a case plan that is consistent with requirements set forth in:(1) 45 CFR 1356.21(g); (2) IC 31-34-15-4; and (3) the collaborative care agreement. (b) The case plan must include a transitional services plan, as described in IC 31-25-2-21 and the applicable rules of the department. (c) The case plan shall provide for visitation between the older youth and a department family case manager at least once every thirty (30) days. Ind. Code § 31-28-5.8-6
Eligibility & Procedure
An older youth whose participation in the collaborative care program terminates prior to the attainment of twenty (20) years of age and who wants to reenter the collaborative care program may do so as long as the older youth meets the eligibility requirements of (A)-(D) above. 465 Ind. Admin. Code 2-15.1-18(a).
Courts & Rights
Court Oversight of Extended Care
A court that approves a collaborative care agreement shall retain jurisdiction and conduct periodic reviews of the agreement at least once every 6 months until the agreement is terminated. Ind. Code § 31-28-5.8.7(a), (f).
Procedure for Continuing Court Oversight
An older youth may request the department to petition a juvenile court for approval of a collaborative care agreement. Ind. Code § 31-28-5.8-5(b). The department will obtain entry of a court order approving the agreement within 180 days after start of placement. 465 Ind. Admin. Code 2-15.1-12(b).
A court may grant the petition if the court finds the youth is (1) employed; (2) attending school or a vocational or educational certification or degree program; (3) participating in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment; or (4) incapable of performing activities (1) – (3) due to a medical condition. Ind. Code § 31-28-5.8-5(c).
A court that approves a collaborative care agreement shall retain jurisdiction and conduct periodic reviews of the agreement at least once every 6 months until the agreement is terminated. Ind. Code § 31-28-5.8.-7(a), (f).
Termination of Extended Care
The Department may terminate the voluntary collaborative agreement before the youth turns 20 if: (1) The youth indicates in writing a desire to withdraw from the collaborative care program; (2) The youth fails to maintain eligibility for the collaborative care program; (3) The youth fails to submit documentation to support eligibility, including, but not limited to, report cards or pay stubs, at least quarterly; (4) The youth fails to report changes that may affect eligibility to the department by the end of the business day following the change; (5) The youth fails to comply with his or her case plan; (6) The youth violates any written standards of conduct specified by the VCCA, this rule, or the host home agreement; (7) The youth moves out of the state of Indiana; (8) The youth moves from approved collaborative care placement without notifying DCS; (9) The youth fails to meet, face-to-face, with assigned department personnel on at least a monthly basis; (10) A court does not approve the voluntary collaborative care agreement within one hundred eighty (180) days. 465 Ind. Admin. Code 2-15.1-14.
Eligibility for Extended Adoption Assistance
Adoption subsidy may continue between ages 18 and 21 if the child is (A) enrolled in a secondary school, a public or private institution of higher education or a course of career or technical education leading to gainful employment; or (B) needs continuing support and assistance for a physical, a medical, a mental, or an emotional condition that limits or prevents the child from becoming self-supporting, and if the adoptive parent(s) (A) provide the principal source of financial support for the child's room, board, medical care, and other necessary living expenses; and (B) are entitled to claim the child as a dependent on their federal or state income tax return or returns for the year in which the continued subsidy payments are made. Ind. Code § 31-19-26.5-9.
Eligibility for Extended Guardianship Assistance
Guardianship assistance payments may continue between ages 18 and 19 if the child is a full-time student in a secondary school or the equivalent level of vocational or technical training. Payments may be made directly to the child after age 18. 465 Ind. Admin. Code 2-8-6(c). 465 Ind. Admin. Code 2-8-6(c).