43105. Extended Foster Care Program

Approval:  Connie Lambert-Eckel, Assistant Secretary

Original Date:  June 22, 2011

Revised Date: October 19, 2017

Sunset Review:  October 19, 2020


Purpose 

The Extended Foster Care (EFC) Program is a voluntary program established to support eligible youth between the ages of 18 and 21 in a successful transition to independence through continued foster care placement and services.

Scope

This policy applies to Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) staff.

Laws

RCW 13.34.267 Extended Foster Care Services, Maintenance of Dependency Proceedings, Placement Care of Youth, Appointment of Counsel, Case Plan

RCW 13.34.268 Extended Foster Care Services, Voluntary Placement Agreement, Decline, Petition for Dependency

RCW 74.13.020 Definitions

RCW 74.13.031 Duties of Department, Child Welfare Services, Children's Services Advisory Committee

RCW 74.13.336 Extended Foster Care Services

RCW 74.15.020 Definitions

PL 110-351 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act 2008

Policy

  1. Eligibility
    1. EFC services must be provided to eligible dependent youth. To be eligible for the EFC program, a youth, on their 18th birthday, must be legally dependent, in foster care and meet one of the following eligibility criterion:
      1. Is enrolled in high school or a high school equivalency program;
      2. Is enrolled, has applied for, or can show intent to timely enroll in a post-secondary academic or post-secondary vocational certification program;
      3. Is participating in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment, including part-time employment;
      4. Is employed 80 hours or more a month; or
      5. Is unable to engage in any of the above activities due to a documented medical condition.
    2. The caseworker must:
      1. Verify and document that the youth meets the eligibility criteria on the FamLink EFC Eligibility page, prior to enrollment and for every subsequent court review.
      2. If the youth has a documented medical condition that prevents him or her from participating in any of the EFC program eligibility criteria listed in Policy section 1(a.) (i.-iv.) above, document the medical condition in the following pages in FamLink:
        1. Health/Mental Health,
        2. Court Report,
        3. EFC Eligibility,
        4. Upload supporting documentation from a licensed medical provider.
      3. If the youth has a temporary medical condition, verify continued EFC eligibility during the monthly health and safety visit. This verification includes reviewing the documentation from the licensed health care provider to determine if updated documentation is needed.
    3. A tribal dependent youth may be eligible for the EFC program if the tribe's code defines "child" up to the age of 21 and they meet EFC program criteria.
    4. A youth is not in foster care and not eligible for the EFC program if, on their 18th birthday, was:
      1. In a dependency guardianship.
      2. Adjudicated or convicted of a crime and serving their sentence in a Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) institution (JR community facilities are excluded) or Department of Corrections (DOC).
      3. Placed in a trial return home or in-home dependency.
    5. EFC youth are eligible for courtesy supervision per the courtesy supervision policy.
  2. EFC Enrollment
    1. An eligible youth must elect to participate in the EFC program initially:
      1. Starting on their 18th birthday; or
      2. Prior to their 19th birthday.
    2. The caseworker must:
      1. When a youth is disabled, coordinate with the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), the youth’s assigned CASA/GAL, attorney and court to assist the youth with the decision to enroll in the EFC Program.
      2. Document the youth's decision to participate on the EFC Eligibility page in FamLink.
      3. Complete the Extended Foster Care Participation Agreement form DSHS 10-432 with a youth who elects to participate on their18th birthday.
        1. Obtain the youth’s signature.
        2. Provide the completed form to all parties involved, including the court.
        3. Upload the signed form into FamLink.
      4. Request the court to dismiss the dependency if the youth does not elect to participate in the EFC program. Once the case has been dismissed, the caseworker must end the placement episode in FamLink.
    3. Youth can transition between eligibility categories.
    4. Youth participating in the EFC program can exit the program at any time.
  3. EFC enrollment after 18th birthday and prior to 19th birthday:
    1. Any youth who did not elect to participate in EFC on their 18th birthday who is requesting to enroll in the EFC program after their case was dismissed must:
      1. Have been legally dependent and in foster care on their 18th birthday
      2. Meet one of the categories in Policy section 1(a.) (i.-v.) above.
      3. Sign an Extended Foster Care Services Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) DSHS form 15-431 and agree to entry of a dependency order within 179 days.
  4. EFC re-enrollment prior to 21st birthday
    1. Any youth requesting to re-enter the EFC program who did participate in EFC on their 18th birthday, but had their EFC dependency dismissed must:
      1. Have been legally dependent and in foster care on their 18th birthday.
      2. Have previously enrolled/participated in EFC and unenrolled or lost eligibility and had the dependency dismissed.
      3. Have not entered into the EFC program previously on a VPA.
      4. Meet one of the eligibility criteria in policy section 1(a) (i.-v.) above.
      5. Sign an Extended Foster Care Services Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) DSHS form 15-431.
    2. This includes those EFC youth who discharged from military active duty prior to age 21.
    3. These youth:
      1. Can only enter into EFC once through a VPA.
      2. Their placement in care on a VPA cannot exceed 179 days.
  5. EFC enrollment or re-enrollment after 18th birthday, the caseworker must:
    1. Connect the youth to an intake worker or ensure the intake is created on the youth's behalf. An intake must be created and assigned to the office where the youth is currently residing.
    2. Make contact with youth requesting EFC within 72 hours of request for services.
    3. Determine and document program eligibility on the EFC Eligibility page in FamLink.
    4. If a youth is eligible for EFC:
      1. Obtain the youth’s signature on the Extended Foster Care Services Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) DSHS form 15-431 before the youth re-enters care and before their 21st birthday. Upload the signed VPA in FamLink.
      2. Notify the assistant attorney general within 90 days of youth returning to care once the VPA is signed.
      3. File and establish a non-minor dependency action within 179 days from date the VPA was signed.
      4. Create or update the existing transition plan with the youth prior to the first court review hearing.
    5. If a youth is denied entry into EFC:
      1. Staff the case with the EFC regional lead prior to sending the EFC denial letter. A youth is only denied access to the EFC program when he or she:
        1. Was not legally dependent and in foster care on their 18th birthday.
        2. Does not meet any of the eligibility criteria, in policy section 1(a.)(i.-v.) above, at the time of their request;
        3. Elected to not participate in EFC on their 18th birthday and is over the age of 19.
        4. Had a previous EFC-VPA, or
        5. Is 21 years old or older.
      2. Send the youth an EFC Denial Letter DSHS form 06-165 within 10 calendar days of the agency’s decision of denial.
  6. Case Planning and Service Provision
    1. Provide written information about the EFC program to youth between the ages of 17 and 17.5 at the 17.5 Transition Staffing.
    2. Document in a case note in FamLink and in the court report that the youth has been provided information about the EFC Program prior to their 18th birthday.
    3. All youth in EFC must receive the following:
      1. Monthly health and safety visits, whether placed in-state or out-of-state.
      2. Regular court reviews.
      3. Case planning activities, including shared planning meetings, which must cover:
        1. A current transition plan that is updated and attached to the court report.
        2. A case plan that focuses solely on the youth, as the legal guardians are no longer party to their dependency.
        3. A case plan that assesses the following:
          1. The youth is safe in their placement;
          2. The youth continues to be eligible for extended foster care;
          3. The current placement is developmentally appropriate;
          4. The youth is developing independent living skills; and
          5. The youth is making progress towards transitioning to full independence within their capacity limits.
        4. The plan must also include the following:
          1. Education
          2. Employment
          3. Work force supports and employment services
          4. Local opportunities for mentors and continuing support; and
          5. Health Insurance
          6. Housing
          7. Identification and support of permanent connections.
      4. Services tailored to meet their transition needs while participating in the program.
      5. Referral for a Wraparound Intensive Services (WISe) screen if the youth has complex behavioral health needs per 4542. WISe policy.
      6. A transition plan to include all of the case plan elements no more than 90 days prior to the dismissal of the EFC case. The plan must be attached to the court report.
      7. Assistance obtaining and reviewing a copy of their consumer credit report annually per policy 43102 CA Responsibilities to dependent Youth 12 and Older.
      8. If the youth foster care placement or Supervised Independent Living (SIL) setting disrupts, assist the youth in locating another placement.
    4. Request court dismissal of the dependency when the youth:
      1. Is not eligible on their 18th birthday.
      2. Is eligible but chooses not to participate in the program on their 18th birthday.
      3. Is enrolled in EFC but no longer meets eligibility criteria.
      4. Turns 21 years old or chooses to leave the program.
      5. Is not complying with the dependency court order, case plan, or placement rules.
      6. Has left their approved placement for more than 72 hours without approval.
      7. Is no longer living in a CA or court approved placement and refuses to accept all other identified options.
      8. Has been adjudicated or convicted of a crime and is:
        1. Residing in a JR institution; or
        2. Incarcerated in a county jail or DOC facility.
    5. Document in FamLink that the placement has ended once the court dismisses the dependency.
  7. Placement types
    1. EFC youth may be placed in licensed foster care, with relatives, other suitable adults or in a SIL setting.
      1. Foster care placements, such as, but not limited to licensed foster home, group home, or staffed residential home.
        1. An EFC youth who is placed in a licensed placement can continue to live in the same home as long as they are eligible, it is age appropriate and the caregiver agrees to continue to serve the youth.
        2. Placement payment may remain the same, but should be assessed and adjusted as needed using the foster care rate assessment or rate determination process for therapeutic placements.
        3. Discuss and document in the case plan the independent living skills the youth and caregiver will work on.
    2. SIL Setting
      1. SIL settings must be approved by CA or the court.
      2. Prior to approving a SIL setting, the CA caseworker must visit the proposed SIL setting to assess for safety and developmental appropriateness.
      3. SIL settings may include, but are not limited to:
        1. Apartments
        2. Room and board arrangements
        3. College or university residence halls/dormitories
        4. AmeriCorps or Job Corps
        5. Shared roommate settings
        6. Renting a room
        7. Parents/Guardians
        8. A licensed foster home with a room and board arrangement (Foster care reimbursement stops and SIL payments are made to the youth)
      4. EFC youth in the following circumstances are eligible to reside in a SIL setting:
        1. Enlisted in the military
          1. An EFC youth in an approved SIL setting, who is in the armed forces in basic training or has completed basic training and is serving part-time in the National Guard or in the reserves.
        2. Married
          1. An EFC youth is in an approved SIL setting and is or becomes married. There are no service requirements and no additional financial support is provided for the non-minor dependent spouse unless they have their own EFC case.
        3. Parenting
        4. Adopted as an adult
    3. SIL payments are:
      1. Provided when the EFC youth is in a SIL setting approved by CA or the court.
      2. Paid directly to the youth.
      3. Based on the current basic foster care reimbursement rate.
        1. To continue unless the EFC youth is no longer in a CA approved placement setting and;
        2. A court hearing was held and;
        3. The court did not approve the SIL setting or;
        4. Court dismissed the EFC dependency
      4. Not paid when other foster care placement payments are being paid (foster care reimbursement, Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, etc.).
      5. Discontinued when the EFC youth completes armed services basic training and is on full-time active duty.
      6. Discontinued when EFC youth chooses to stop participating in EFC.
    4. EFC youth may leave a placement setting to participate in normal youth activities for up to 72 hours. Youth may be gone for longer than 72 hours with assigned caseworker or other designated CA staff approval. For in-state, out-of-state, or out-of-country travel requests exceeding 72 hours follow 6100 Client and Staff Travel policy.
    5. For Interstate Compact Placement of Children (ICPC) cases when:
      1. The youth’s EFC case is in Washington (WA) state:
        1. The assigned CA caseworker must contact the ICPC Unit to determine if the receiving state will provide courtesy supervision to EFC youth.
        2. If the receiving state does not provide courtesy supervision, the assigned CA caseworker is responsible for ensuring that monthly health and safety visits and case management services are provided while the youth is residing outside of WA. The CA caseworker must make efforts to locate contracted services as needed.
      2. The youth’s EFC case is in another state:
        1. WA provides EFC services to an ICPC youth who was placed in WA prior to their 18th birthday when the sending state has an EFC program and requests WA to continue to provide this service.
        2. EFC funding must be provided from the sending state.
        3. Washington does not provide courtesy supervision to youth residing in WA with EFC cases in another state who were not residing in WA prior to their 18th birthday.

Forms

Extended Foster Care Agreement DSHS 10-432

Voluntary Placement Agreement for Extended Foster Care Services DSHS 15-431

EFC Denial Letter DSHS 06-165

Transition Plan for Youth Exiting Care DSHS form 15-417

Consent DSHS 14-012

Resources

43091. Court Report Policy

4430. Courtesy Supervision Policy

4420. Health and Safety Visits with Children and Monthly Visits with Caregivers and Parents

6100. Client and Staff Travel