Funding allocations for youth in the custody of a public children service agency
In December of 1999, the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 was signed into law. This Act is the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP), commonly known as Chafee. This legislation helps ensure that young people involved in the foster care system get the tools they need to make the most of their lives. They may have opportunities for additional education or training, housing assistance, counseling and other services.
Some of the provision in the Act include:
- Provides for flexible funding for distribution to States through grants for program services for youth.
- Provides opportunities for States to serve youth who are likely to remain in foster care and those who have aged out of foster care up to 21 years of age.
- Enables youth to make better choices and accept greater responsibility for their own lives.
- Enables older youth (18-21) to receive housing assistance if needed.
- Provides States the option of allowing these young people to remain eligible for Medicaid up to age 21.
Youth that are in the custody of a public children service agency and are 16 years of age or older are required to receive independent living services. Chafee allocations are passed to the states and Ohio, in turn, passes 100% of the allocations to the 88 counties.
If a child is 16 years or older and is likely to remain in care the agency is responsible for ensuring that a written independent living plan to achieve self-sufficiency shall be developed within thirty days of the completion of an assessment. The plan should be based upon the result of the assessment and include input from the youth, the youth’s case manager, the caregiver, and significant other in the youth’s life. The independent plan should document the strengths, limitations, and resources of the youth and shall outline the services that will be provided to the youth. The independent living plan should be reviewed at least every ninety days thereafter until the agency’s custody is terminated. While the youth is custody certain Independent living services must be provided to the youth and should serve and prepare the youth for transition into independence. The types of independent living services that are to be provided include but not limited to:
Daily Living skills
- Assistance in obtaining a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED)
- Assistance in preparation for post secondary education and training.
- Assistance with career exploration, vocational training, job placement and retention.
- Preventative health activities (smoking avoidance, nutritional education, and prevention.
- Financial, housing, employment education and self-esteem counseling
- Development of positive relationships and support systems
- Drug and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment
Each public children service agency (PCSA), when requested, must provide services and support to former foster care recipients, who emancipated from the agency’s custody due to attaining eighteen years of age. A PCSA shall evaluate the strengths and needs of the young adult to determine the services to be offered. The services and supports are to complement the young adult’s own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency, and shall be available until the young adult’s twenty-first birthday. A PCSA may use up to thirty per cent of its federal independent living allocation for room and board for eighteen to twenty-one year old emancipated young adults. Independent living services that are available to young adults aged eighteen to twenty-one include, but not limited to:
- Academic support
- Post secondary educational support
- Career preparation
- Employment programs or vocational training
- Budget and financial management
- Housing, education and home management
- Health education and risk prevention
- Mentoring including matched with a screened and trained adult
- Supervised independent living
- Room and board financial assistance
- Education financial assistance
The Education and Training Voucher Program
The Education Training Voucher (ETV) provides up to 5,000 dollars a year to youth that have emancipated from foster care or were adopted at the age of 16 or older and who are enrolled in post secondary educational programs. The young adult must have a high school diploma or GED to be eligible.
ETV is administered through a subgrant with the Orphan Foundation of America. (OFA). OFA markets the ETV program for Ohio.
ETV funding can be used to assist with tuition, books, computers, school supplies, living expenses, rent, childcare, health insurance, groceries and transportation. Young adults can participate in the ETV program until their 23rd birthday as long as enrollment into the program occurred before their 21st birthday.
Young adults can apply on line at www.statevoucher.org. Click on Ohio and complete the online application. You can also download the financial aid release form and student accounts statement.
To speak to the Ohio ETV coordinator please call (800) 585-7115 or email email@example.com for more information.
The National Youth Transition Database
As another requirement of the John Chafee Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, all states were required to develop a data base within the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS),that would be able to record and monitor independent living services provided to young people.
The National Youth Transition Database has been developed to record the types of services provided to individuals and to monitor the outcomes of the services provided to eligible young people. Older youth in foster care and youth that age out of foster care receive independent living services. These services are to support and assist the young person with tools and resources that will ease their way to independence and adulthood. Public children service agencies will collect data regarding the types of independent living services provided to the youth in their custody and record the information in SACWIS. It is important to know if the services are beneficial and to also determine the need for future policy changes. As another component to this initiative, a survey must be conducted with youth that are in the custody of an agency and with those that have emancipated to assist with the analysis of provided independent living services.
A select population of older youth in care, and those that have emancipated or aged out, will be a part of a study and will be asked to participate in a survey that will ultimately show whether or not the services being provided are useful and supportive. The survey results will determine positive or negative outcomes for youth receiving independent living services and the need for any adjustments in services and program policy.
The outcome measures, which includes measures of educational attainment, receipt of a high school diploma, employment, avoidance of dependency, homelessness, non-marital childbirth, incarceration and high risk behaviors are also included in the outcome performance measures of Ohio.
Statewide Youth Advisory Board
Former and current foster youth that has an interest in sharing their voices about the foster care system and child welfare in general are encouraged to join the statewide youth advisory board entitled Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio (OHIO) Youth Advisory Board. The O.H.I.O's mission exist to:
- Be the knowledgeable statewide voice that influences policies and practices that effect all youth who have or will have experienced out-of-home care;
- Bring youth together on a statewide level regardless of race, sex, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation or national origin;
- Assist youth in establishing and achieving realistic goals for their future; and
- Provide exemplary leadership and empowerment opportunities for youth who have or will have experienced out of home care.
The OHIO youth advisory board has advocated for systemic changes in Ohio and have accomplished much in the past as shown in the following:
- Advocated for specialized services for teen moms in foster care;
- Joined a strong coalition, led by Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies, to hold the first statewide independent living conference, featuring youth-led workshops, bringing youth and adults together to positively impact foster youth services in the state of Ohio;
- Met with federal legislators to advocate for federal finance reform;
- Proactively shared their journey in foster care to more than a 1,000 child welfare professionals in the state of Ohio; and
- Successfully advocated for the extension of Medicaid coverage until age twenty-one.
- "My Mission Transition", is a web site that supports foster youth in their mission to transition out of foster care. The Youth Statewide Advisory Board, the Ohio State Bar Association and the Public Children Services Association of Ohio collaborated to increase the available resources and opportunities for foster youth preparing to age out of foster care, by listing valuable resources and information onto a web site. This site will help young adults make informed decisions when making their transition to independence. MyMissionTransition web site is www.mymissiontransition.com