43105. Extended Foster Care Program

Approval:  Connie Lambert-Eckel, Assistant Secretary

Original Date:  June 22, 2011

Revised Date: June 7, 2018

Sunset Review:  June 7, 2021


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.

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, including placement resources, must be provided to eligible dependent youth. To be eligible for the EFC program, a youth, on their 18th birthday, must be legally dependent and meet one of the following eligibility criteria:
      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 eligibility criteria listed in Policy section 1(a.) (i.-iv.), 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 eligibility.
    4. 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:
      1. Starting on their 18th birthday; or
      2. Prior to their 21st birthday.
    2. The caseworker must:
      1. When a youth is disabled, coordinate with the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), the youth’s assigned Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Guardian Ad Litem (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 their 18th 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. If the youth does not elect to participate in the EFC program, request dismissal of the dependency from the court on the youth’s 18th birthday. 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 or re-enrollment prior to 21st birthday:
    1. Any youth requesting to enroll in EFC for the first time or re-enter the EFC program after having their dependency dismissed, must:
      1. Have been dependent on their 18th birthday.
      2. Meet one of the eligibility criteria in policy section 1(a) (i.-v.).
      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. Sign an Extended Foster Care Participation Agreement form DSHS 10-432.
    2. Eligible youth may enroll and exit the EFC program an unlimited number of times prior to their 21st birthday.
  4. If the youth’s dependency was dismissed and the youth is requesting EFC enrollment for the first time or re-enrollment, the caseworker must:
    1. Connect the youth to an intake worker so they may request EFC or ensure an intake is created on the youth's behalf. The intake must be assigned to the office jurisdiction where the youth is currently residing.
    2. Make contact with youth requesting EFC within 10 calendar days of request. Determine and document program eligibility on the EFC Eligibility page in FamLink.
    3. 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. Upload the signed VPA in FamLink.
      2. Obtain the youth’s signature on the Extended Foster Care Participation Agreement form DSHS 10-432. Upload the signed Participation Agreement in FamLink.
      3. Notify the assistant attorney general within 90 days of youth returning to care once the VPA is signed.
      4. File and establish a non-minor dependency action within 179 days from date the VPA was signed. VPAs cannot exceed 179 days.
      5. Update the existing or create a new transition and case plan with the youth prior to the first court review hearing.
    4. 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 they:
        1. Were not dependent on their 18th birthday.
        2. Do not meet any of the eligibility criteria, in policy section 1(a.)(i.-v.), at the time of their request;
        3. Are 21 years old or older.
      2. Send the youth an EFC Denial Letter DSHS form 06-165 within 10 calendar days of the department’s denial decision.
  5. Case Planning and Service Provision
    Caseworkers must:
    1. Provide written information about the EFC program to youth between the ages of 17 and 17.5 at the 17.5 year-old shared planning 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. Provide all youth in EFC 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 for Youth Exiting Care DSHS form 15-417, that is updated and attached to the court report.
        2. A case plan that focuses solely on the youth, because, as a legal adult, the youth becomes the only party to the case.
        3. A case plan that assesses the following:
          1. The youth is safe in their placement;
          2. The youth continues to be eligible for EFC;
          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 ability.
        4. The case plan must also include the youth progress in the following areas:
          1. Education
          2. Employment
          3. Workforce supports and employment services
          4. Local opportunities for mentors and continuing support
          5. Health insurance (Apple Health Core Connections)
          6. Housing
          7. Identification and support of permanent connections
          8. If DDA eligible the transition plan to adult DDA services once youth exits EFC 
      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 WISe policy.
      6. Assistance obtaining and reviewing a copy of their consumer credit report annually per policy CA Responsibilities to Dependent Youth 12 and Older.
      7. If the youth’s foster care placement or Supervised Independent Living (SIL) setting disrupts, assist the youth in locating another foster home or SIL placement.
      8. 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.
    3. 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 placement or housing options.
      8. Has been adjudicated or convicted of a crime and is:
        1. Residing in a juvenile rehabilitation institution; or
        2. Incarcerated in a county jail or Department of Corrections facility.
    4. Document in FamLink that the placement has ended once the court dismisses the dependency.
  6. Placement types
    1. May include licensed foster care, licensed or unlicensed kinship care or 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 and is 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. Youth must be assessed for ability to live independently.
        2. Prior to approving a SIL setting, the caseworker must visit the proposed SIL setting to assess for safety.
        3. SIL settings must be approved by CA or the court.
        4. SIL settings may include, but are not limited to:
          1. Apartments
          2. Room and board arrangements
          3. College or university residence halls or dormitories
          4. AmeriCorps or Job Corps
          5. Shared roommate settings
          6. Renting a room
          7. Parents/guardians
          8. Relative/other suitable adults
          9. A licensed foster home with a room and board arrangement (Foster care reimbursement stops and SIL payments are made to the youth.)
      3. EFC youth in the following circumstances are eligible to reside in a SIL setting:
        1. Enlisted in the military
          An EFC youth in an approved SIL setting, who is in basic training or has completed basic training and is serving part-time in the National Guard or in the reserves.
        2. Married
          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 spouse unless they have their own EFC case.
        3. Parenting
        4. Adopted as an adult
    2. 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 the court did not approve the SIL setting or
        3. Court dismissed the EFC dependency
      4. Not paid when other foster care placement payments are being paid. This includes dependency guardianships.
      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 and the EFC case is dismissed.
    3. EFC youth may leave a placement setting to participate in normal youth activities for up to 72 hours. Youth in licensed placement must comply with the requirements of the placement regarding offsite activities. Youth may be gone for longer than 72 hours with assigned caseworker or other designated CA staff. For in-state, out-of-state, or out-of-country travel requests exceeding 72 hours, the caseworker follows the Travel and Transportation policy.
    4. For Interstate Compact Placement of Children (ICPC) cases when:
      1. The youth’s EFC case is in Washington (WA) state:
        1. The assigned 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 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. This may include contracting with an out-of-state provider to perform and document the visits (consult with the regional contracts manager). Review the documentation of these visits to ensure the youths needs are met.
      2. The youth’s EFC case is in another state:
        1. Washington provides EFC services to an ICPC youth who was placed in Washington 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 Washington who have an EFC casein another state and who were not residing in Washington 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

Court Report Policy

CA Responsibilities to Dependent Youth 12 and Older

Courtesy Supervision Policy

Health and Safety Visits with Children and Monthly Visits with Caregivers and Parents Policy

Wraparound with Intensive Services (WISe) Policy

Client and Staff Travel Policy