Eligibility

General Eligibility

A “child” includes a person who is 18 or 19 years old who (1) Is in full-time attendance at an accredited school pursuing a course of study leading to a high school diploma; (2) Is attending an instructional program leading to a high school equivalency diploma; or (3) Has been identified by the director of special education of the area education agency as a child requiring special education; however, a person who is over 18 and who has received a high school diploma or equivalency diploma is not a “child.” Iowa Code § 234.1(2).

The department provides extended care to older youth through voluntary placement agreements, which may be granted for 6 months at a time. Iowa Admin. Code r. 441-202.3(3).

The department shall enter into the agreement only when the youth: (1) Meets the definition of “child” in Iowa Code section 234.1; (2) Was in foster care or a state institution immediately before reaching the age of 18; (3) Has continued in foster care or a state institution since reaching the age of 18; (4) Has demonstrated a willingness to participate in case planning and to fulfill responsibilities as defined in the case permanency plan, and; (5) Will be placed in foster family care or supervised apartment living in Iowa. r. 441-202.3(3)(a).

Foster care payment shall only be made for an 18-year-old child in a foster family or in a supervised living apartment; and for a 19-year-old child in a supervised living apartment. Iowa Code § 234.35(3); Iowa Admin. Code r. 441-156.20(b)(3).

An exception to the placement requirement shall be made “For a child who is at imminent risk of becoming homeless or failing to graduate from high school or to obtain a general education development diploma, if the services are in the child's best interests, funding is available for the services, and an appropriate alternative service is unavailable.” Iowa Code § 234.35(3).

“At imminent risk of becoming homeless” shall mean that a less restrictive living arrangement is not available.” Iowa Admin. Code r. 441-156.20(b)(3). An exception shall also made for all unaccompanied minor refugees. Id.

All voluntary placements shall be approved by the service area manager or designee. Iowa Code § 441-202.3(4).

Extension Process

Voluntary Care Agreement Requirement

The Department is responsible for paying the cost of foster care “[w]hen the department has agreed to provide foster care services for a child who is eighteen years of age or older on the basis of a signed placement agreement between the department and the child or the person acting on behalf of the child.” Iowa Code § 234.35(1)(f).

Re-Entry

Eligibility & Procedure

"An exception to the requirement for continuous placement may be made for a youth who leaves foster care at age 18 and voluntarily returns to supervised apartment living foster care before the youth's twentieth birthday in order to complete high school or obtain a general equivalency diploma (GED)." Iowa Admin. Code r. 441-202.3(3).

All voluntary placements shall be approved by the service area manager or designee. Iowa Code § 441-202.3(4).

Subsidies

Eligibility for Extended Adoption Assistance

"Financial assistance shall not extend beyond the adopted child's twenty-first birthday.” Iowa Code § 600.21.

Eligibility for Extended Guardianship Assistance

Guardianship subsidy agreement shall terminate when the child reaches 18, unless “the department determines that the subsidy may continue until the child reaches the age of 19 to facilitate the child's completion of high school or a high school equivalency diploma.” Iowa Admin. Code r. 441-204.6(234)(1).