My Future, My Choice - For Foster Parents

Foster Parent Kimberly

Just like with any teen, many youth in foster care are not ready to be on their own on their 18th birthday. In the same way, once young adults do go out on their own, sometimes they need to return home to get back on their feet before adventuring out again.

MY Future, MY Choice will give kids living options, leadership development and guidance to assist them with the transition to adulthood.

Key info:

  • Allows current and former youth 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 direct payment of foster care board rates to foster families and group home providers for young adults in foster care.
  • Provides continued case management services for all young adults in extended foster care.
  • Provides Judicial Reviews every six months for all young adults in extended foster care.
  • Provides financial and academic support services to former and current foster care young adults who are pursing postsecondary educational opportunities.
  • Youth can leave and re-enter the program at any time through their 21st birthday, if they meet the program's requirements.
  • This new law provides a supplemental life skills and normalcy board rate payment to foster parents caring for each youth aged 13-17.
  • "MY Future, MY Choice" works hand-in-hand with the normalcy changes, allowing foster parents more freedom to parent and let kids be kids.

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 get 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 paren: If it is agreed upon by both the young adult and foster family, the young adult may continue to reside with their 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 their current group home.
  • Supervised living arrangements (i.e.: college dormitory, rental home or apartment): All supervised living arrangements must be approved and supervised on a regular basis by the community based care service provider.

Foster Care Room and Board Rates

Effective Jan.1, 2017, the minimum room and board rates paid to foster parents are as follows:

  • 0-5 Years: $448.53
  • Age 6-12: $460.02
  • Years Age 13-21: $538.43

Beginning July 1, 2014, foster parents will receive an annual cost of living increase. DCF will calculate the new room and board rate based on cost of living increases. DCF will make available the adjusted room and board rates annually.

If a young adult is residing in a foster home, room and board rate payments are paid directly to the foster parent.   A young adult may be in extended foster care and also receive the PESS postsecondary educational stipend.  This stipend totals $1256 monthly.  DCF is currently working on rules as to specifically how this money will be allocated.

Normalcy Legislation

"MY Future, MY Choice" works hand-in-hand with the normalcy changes, allowing foster parents more freedom to parent and let kids be kids. The normalcy bill was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott and made effective March 2013.

The legislation allows kids to participate more freely in extracurricular, enrichment and social activities. Of course, these activities must be age-appropriate and based on the child's emotional and developmental readiness.

Foster parents no longer need to get permission for children in foster care to participate in these activities, allowing the foster parent to actually parent and let kids be kids.

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

You 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, and are limited to temporary help.

Find Out More

To find out more read The Quality Parenting Initiative - FAQs or visit the QPI website.