Eligibility

General Eligibility

Youth between the ages of 18 and 21 may remain in care if the department of human services determines that youth is in need of continued foster care services as set forth in a continued foster care agreement and the court approves the petition the department files to keep the case open. N.D. Cent. Code § 27-20-30.1(2).

Youth must be in need of continued foster care services and the department must petition for the case to be open. N.D. Cent. Code § 27-20-30.1(2).

Pursuant to Department policy, youth must also “[h]ave aged-out of foster care at age 18 or greater from County Social Services, Tribal Social Services (as Title IV-E eligible) or Division of Juvenile Services” and “[a]gree to sign the 18+ Continued Foster Care Agreement.” The Department also requires that youth meet one of the following Fostering Connections requirements for eligibility: (1) participating in secondary or post-secondary education on a full or part time basis; (2) employed at least 80 hours per month; (3) attending a program that is designed to promote or remove barriers to employment; or (4) unable to participate in educational or employment activities due to a medical condition or disability. N.D. DEP’T OF HUMAN SERVS. CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVS. MANUAL § 624-05-23 (2014).

Youth may live in licensed foster care homes, college dorms, or group homes. Youth generally are not eligible for continued care if they live in an apartment. A North Dakota foster child living out of state is eligible for 18+ Continued Care. N.D. DEP’T OF HUMAN SERVS. CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVS. MANUAL § 624-05-23 (2014).

Re-Entry

Eligibility & Procedure

Youth may return to care within 6 months of their last discharge date. There is no limit to the number of times that a child can return to foster care. N.D. DEP’T OF HUMAN SERVS. CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVS. MANUAL § 624-05-23 (2014).

Courts & Rights

Court Oversight of Extended Care

Court must make the initial determination for youth to receive extended care. § 27-20-30.1(4). Court shall schedule permanency hearings. N.D. Cent. Code § 27-20-30.1(j).

Procedure for Continuing Court Oversight

The court shall make the following initial determination: (a) That the child is not deprived, delinquent, or unruly but is in need of continued foster care services; (b) That the child will remain in or will return to foster care pursuant to the child's continued foster care agreement; (c) That the child's continued foster care agreement has been willfully entered between:

(1) The department of human services or its agent, the child, and the foster care provider; or (2) An agency or tribal council of a recognized Indian reservation in North Dakota if the child is not subject to the jurisdiction of the state of North Dakota, the child, and the foster care provider; (d) That it is in the best interest of the child to remain in or return to foster care; (e) That reasonable efforts were made [to meet the youth’s needs prior to placement]; (f) That the child has attained the age of eighteen or older but does not exceed the age of twenty-one years; (g) That the child has satisfied the education, employment, or disability requirements under the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 [Pub. L. 110-351] and as set forth by the department of human services; (h) That the administrative county, as determined by the department, or that an agency or tribal council of a recognized Indian reservation in North Dakota, shall continue foster care case management, unless otherwise agreed to or required by the department; (i) That the administrative county or an agency or tribal council of a recognized Indian reservation in North Dakota must have care and placement responsibility of the child; (j) That permanency hearing must be as set forth in section 27-20-36; and (k) That there are no grounds to file a petition to terminate parental rights under chapter 27-20. § 27-20-30.1(4).

Termination of Extended Care

Termination from care will occur if the permanency goal is reached, one of the parties to the agreement requests to terminate, or the child reaches the age of 21. N.D. DEP’T OF HUMAN SERVS. CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVS. MANUAL § 624-05-23 (2014).

Subsidies

Eligibility for Extended Adoption Assistance

Adoption assistance may extend until age 21 if the youth is a student regularly attending a secondary, postsecondary, or career and technical education school in pursuance of a course of study leading to a diploma, degree, or gainful employment. N.D. Cent. Code §§ 50-28-01, 50-09-02.2.

Pursuant to Department policy, state-subsidized adoption assistance may continue until age 21 “if the child is in school.” Title IV-E assistance may extend to age 21 if the Department has determined that the youth has a mental, emotional, or physical disability that warrants the continuation of the subsidy. N.D. DEP’T OF HUMAN SERVS. CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVS. MANUAL § 617-05-20-30.

Eligibility for Extended Guardianship Assistance

Guardianship assistance terminates at age 18. N.D. DEP’T OF HUMAN SERVS. CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVS. MANUAL § 623-10-15-10.