States are Leaving Federal Money for Extended Foster Care on the Table

John Kelly, The Chronicle of Social Change •

“Federal regulation and the child welfare policy manual make it clear that a new court order or voluntary placement agreement create a new foster care episode,” said Jenny Pokempner, a senior attorney at the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center. “A new IV-E eligibility determination can be made at that time. Only the young person’s income is considered.”

Pokempner said that one of the biggest lessons from the report is that states may be able to more effectively leverage IV-E funds for their extended foster care programs if they follow the lead of Tennessee and Illinois.

“Many states that offer extended foster care likely could offer voluntary placement agreements at age 18 for extended care and re-entry without changing their laws,” she said. “When states maximize their IV-E funding they are in a better position to leverage all funding available to build an excellent older youth service continuum.”

About the Expert

Jennifer Pokempner is a Senior Attorney at the Juvenile Law Center. At Juvenile Law Center, her work focuses on improving outcomes and opportunities for older youth in the foster care system through policy and legal advocacy at the local, state, and national levels.