New Extension of Care Program - For CBCs

On Jan. 1, 2014, youth will have the choice to stay in foster care until age 21. The new "MY Future, MY Choice" program will give kids living options, and a support network in order to assist them with the transition to adulthood.  This page provides an overview of the program for children turning 18 on or after January 1st, and also an overview of how young adults already receiving Independent Living benefits will be grand-fathered in.  Young adults already 18 on January 1st may continue in their existing programs, or they may choose to enter any of the new programs, even if they are not already enrolled in any programs, so long as they meet the requirements.

There are some requirements, such as school and/or work, case management and court reviews, but the youth can leave and re-enter the program as many times as they need to.

Key info:

  • Begins Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Allows former young adults in foster care between the ages of 18-21 to continue to reside, or return, to licensed foster care or approved supervised living environments.
  • Young adults with a diagnosed and documented disability may continue to reside in extended foster care up to their 22nd birthday.
  • Provides continued case management services for all young adults in extended foster care.
  • Provides Judicial Reviews at least every six months for all young adults in extended foster care.
  • If a young adult is residing in a foster home, room and board rate payments are paid directly to the foster parent. If residing in a group home, room and board rate payments are made directly to the group home. If residing in a supervised living arrangement (i.e.: apartment or dorm), rent and utility payments are made by the CBC to the landlord, dormitory, etc.

Requirements:

At the age of 18 have been residing in licensed foster care.

AND

  • Attending high school or working on GED; or
  • Enrolled in college or vocational education program; or
  • Employed at least 80 hours per month; or
  • Participating in a program designed to promote or eliminate barriers to employment.; or
  • Have a diagnosed and documented disability that would prevent the young adult from participating in any of the activities listed above.

In order to stay in the program, the young adult must:

  • Meet with a caseworker every month
  • Continue to participate in at least one of the activities listed above
  • Attend Court reviews every six months

If a young adult leaves the program and wants to reenter:

The young adult must submit an application to the community based care lead agency for eligibility determination. Rules governing this re-entry process are currently in development.

Living Arrangement Options

  • With a licensed foster parent: If it is agreed upon by both the young adult and foster family, the young adult may continue to reside with the current foster family.
  • In a licensed group home: If it is agreed upon by both the young adult and group home placement, the young adult may continue to reside in the current group home.
  • Supervised living arrangements (i.e.: college dormitory, rental home or apartment, either shared with a roommate or singly): All supervised living arrangements must be approved and supervised on a regular basis by the community based care service provider.

Postsecondary Education Services and Support (PESS)

A young adult who has completed high school or has an equivalent credential and who pursues postsecondary education, whether academic or vocational, may be eligible for additional financial support.  This support is called PESS and is available for a young adult who is in "MY Future, MY Choice" and is also available for a young adult who is not receiving any assistance from the CBC, provided the young adult meets the PESS eligibility requirements.

Eligibility for Postsecondary Education Services and Support payments is limited to:

Young adults who turned 18 while residing in licensed care and who have spent a total of six months in licensed out-of-home care.

OR

Young adults who were adopted after the age of 16 from foster care, or placed with a court-approved dependency guardian, after spending at least 6 months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately preceding such placement or adoption.

AND

Have earned a standard high school diploma, or its equivalent.

AND

Are enrolled in at least 9 credit hours and attending a Florida Bright Futures eligible educational institution.  If the young adult has a documented disability or is faced with another challenge or circumstance that would prevent full-time attendance and the educational institution approves, the young adult may attend fewer than 9 credit hours.

The law limits PESS to Florida Bright Futures eligible schools.  However, there is another, more limited financial support for a young adult who wishes to attend a post-secondary school that is not a Bright Futures school, e.g., an out-of-state school.   An annual federal Educational Training Voucher (ETV) educational stipend payment of up to $6,250 may be available, provided the chosen academic institution meets ETV eligibility requirements.  ETV may also be available for a young adult attending a post-secondary institution only part-time.

PESS STIPENDS – Method of Payment

  • Method of payment of PESS stipends.  PESS stipends are in the monthly amount of $1256.  They will NOT initially be made directly to the student. Instead, the community based care service provider will make all housing and utility payments for the student. Any remaining funds will be disbursed to the student. This arrangement shall continue until the student can demonstrate that she or he has acquired the capability to responsibly manage housing and utility payments.
  • Students receiving the PESS post-secondary educational stipend may also be in extended foster care.  The method of the payment depends upon whether the young adult is residing in a foster home or group home or is temporarily residing away from the home.

Aftercare Services

If a young adult decides not to be in "MY Future, MY Choice" or PESS, she or he may be eligible for temporary services, including financial services. These include rent payments, car repairs, employment assistance, and mental health or substance abuse services.

These services are only for young adults who are not receiving any other services.

Current Independent Living Youth (Grand-fathered in)

Requirement

Young adults enrolled in any Independent Living program as of Dec. 31, 2013, including Road to Independence or Transitional Support Services, or children in Subsidized Independent Living may choose to remain in their current program for so long as they retain eligibility for the duration of that specific program.  The chart in the link above explains duration of each program.

Any young adult enrolled in a pre-2014 Independent Living Program may choose to opt in to "MY Future, MY Choice".  If they do so, however, they forfeit their benefits under the grand-fathered programs. 

For More Information

To find out more please contact your  CBC Regional Implementation Leads.

For more information, contact DCF at DCF.IndependentLivingRedesign@dcf.state.fl.us.