How are child welfare agencies supporting older youth and young adults in foster care during COVID?
Foster Care 18 to 21 should be offered to young adults who are 18, 19, or 20 years old and wish to enter or remain in the program. No one should be terminated or denied entry to North Carolina’s Foster Care 18 to 21 program as a result of the unique challenges from COVID-19.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 116-260) was signed into law on December 27, 2020 and Program Instructions were provided to the NC Division of Social Services on March 10, 2021. The law provides supplemental appropriations for the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood, Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program, as well as temporary provisions related to foster care and extended foster care programs.
Child welfare agencies may not require youth to leave foster care solely due to age from Dec. 27, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021.
- Child welfare agencies may not require youth to leave foster care solely due to age from December 27, 2020 through September 30, 2021.
- Young adults who left the Foster Care 18 to 21 program during the COVID-19 public health emergency (defined currently as January 27, 2020 – April 20, 2021, subject to be extended) because of age are permitted re-entry. Re-entry expires after September 30, 2021.
- Agencies are to provide to each youth who was formally discharged from foster care during the COVID-19 public health emergency a notice designed to make the youth aware of the option to return to foster care.
- Young adults should not be exited from the Foster Care 18 to 21 program for failing to meet education or employment eligibility criteria. If they fail to meet education or employment eligibility criteria, the young adult’s Transition Living Plan should be developed, reviewed, and/or revised to meet another eligibility criterion of the program.
- For fiscal years 2020 and 2021, Chafee funding may be used to provide services and assistance to any otherwise eligible youth or young adult who experienced foster care at age 14 or older and has not yet attained age 27.
- From April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, agencies may use Chafee room and board amounts for any otherwise eligible youth who experienced foster care at age 14 or older and who is not age 18-26.
- From October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2022, the maximum ETV award amount has increased from $5,000 to $12,000.
- Additional ETV funding may be used to help support youth who remain enrolled in a post-secondary education or training program.
What can you do?
If you know young adults who may be eligible, please have them contact their NC LINKS Coordinator at their local Department of Social Services. For additional information concerning the Foster Care 18-21 program and NC LINKS services, please visit: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/state-guardianship/independent-living-services-for-foster-children