Extended Foster Care
Young Adults have the opportunity to participate in Extended Foster Care (EFC) until their 21st birthday. Participating in Extended Foster Care, means that young adults will have continuous assistance and support while pursuing higher education and/or employment. Young adults will continue to have a DCS Specialist who will work with them to document their goals and to help provide the services and supports necessary to achieve those goals.
“Signing a voluntary” means young adults who are participating in Extended Foster Care are willing to sign a voluntary agreement and actively participate in a case plan that they help create with their DCS Specialist. Active participants show efforts to work towards educational and or occupational goals. The program also includes participating in a review twice a year to ensure your case plan meets your needs.
Eligibility for EFC
- 18, 19, or 20 years of age;
- is a resident of Arizona;
- has signed a Voluntary Extended Foster Care Agreement;
- resides in a supervised living arrangement approved by the Department;
- has an individualized case plan and is in one or more of the following:
- completing secondary education or an educational program leading to a GED or be enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary or vocational education;
- employed at least eighty hours a month;
- Participating in a program or activity that promotes employment or removes barriers to employment;
- or unable to be a full-time student or to be employed because of a documented medical condition
Requirements for EFC Participants
The young adult will demonstrate personal responsibility for preparing for and transitioning from adolescence to adulthood by working cooperatively with the DCS Specialist to develop an individualized agreement for continued care (case plan) that outlines activities to prepare for self-sufficiency by doing the following:
- Participating in educational, vocational, employment or employment readiness activities of their choice, which may include paid employment, volunteer work or other activities defined in the case plan that will assist the youth to strengthen their employability.
- Identifying their physical and mental health needs and participating in health services, including mental health services of their choice (Youth who choose to not participate in health services recommended by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other qualified physical or behavioral health professional, must identify other strategies they will implement to address their behavioral and/or physical health needs.).
- Identifying and maintaining a safe living arrangement of their choice which will allow for continuous daily living skill development and practice
- Participating in activities or services to build, strengthen or maintain positive, healthy relationships with relative and non-relative persons including supportive adults with who the youth desires to establish a long-term connection.
- Maintaining contact with the assigned DCS Specialist, immediately reporting any actual or anticipated changes to their living arrangement, education, training or employment or health status.
Responsibilities of the DCS Specialist
The DCS Specialist is responsible for working with you. They should be giving you information on services. Services should support your goals. They include education, training, employment and counseling needs.
The DCS Specialist is responsible for the following:
- Working cooperatively with the young adult and providing the young adult and caregiver with information on any services, support and other opportunities which will support the young adult’s desired living arrangement, education, training, employment and counseling needs
- Facilitating the development of an agreement for continued care (case plan) which reflects the young adult’s personal goals and clearly documents those services and supports necessary to assist the young adult to achieve positive outcomes including permanent connections with supportive adults
- Ensuring all authorizations for payment of the cost of care and other services are in place prior to the young adult’s 18th birthday
- Ensuring the young adult has an original birth certificate, Social Security card, and state identification card
- Providing the young adult with adequate family history, including medical history information, including any photos, letters or other family history available in the case record. If the DCS Specialist believes a portion of the information may be harmful to the young adult, therapeutic intervention/assistance will be requested, as appropriate to meet each young adult’s needs.
Re-Entry into the Extended Foster Care Program
Former foster youth who are legal residents of Arizona, and those who left the Arizona foster care system at age 18 or older, may request to re-enter foster care, any time prior to their 21st birthday. All foster care and other services end on the person’s 21st birthday.
Re-entering foster care means DCS will assign a case manager to help create a case plan, arrange for services, and monitor progress. All services provided must complement the youth’s own efforts to become self-sufficient. Youth must work cooperatively with the case manager in order to benefit from services, which may include long-term case management and support, a monthly living stipend, and coordination of services.
Youth may request re-entry by contacting the local Transitional Independent Living Program (after care) provider (aka Successful Transition to Adulthood). The TILP contract provider will initially work with the youth to resolve immediate housing, mental health, employment or other crises, and to confirm the youth’s desire to return to DCS care. Once this is complete the TILP staff will contact DCS to arrange a meeting with the local Re-Entry coordinator to ensure a smooth transition back into care.
If a youth changes his/her mind, and decides he/she does not wish to return to care, the youth may still receive assistance from the TILP provider, who will work with the youth to identify goals and arrange for supportive services. This type of assistance is available until the youth turns 21, on an as needed basis. Services provided must complement the youth’s own efforts to become self-sufficient.