CA Assembly Bill 12 (CA Fostering Connections to Success Act) Moves to Implementation

Assembly Bill 12 (Beall, Bass), the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on September 30, 2010. This federally-funded subsidized guardianship program moved into implementation on January 1, 2012, extending foster care support to age 21.

To help clarify exactly what has changed, we are quoting the following report from the December 23, 2011 edition of the newsletter from California Alliance of Child and Family Services. Special thanks to Executive Director and Editor Carroll Schroeder.

“What currently happens when a foster youth turns 18 and how does AB 12 change all that?

Currently, youth remain eligible for AFDC-Foster Care (FC) payments even after they turn 18 (and become legal adults) under the so-called “high-school completion rule.” Under this federal and State exception to the automatic termination of AFDC-FC eligibility at age 18, foster youth may continue to receive AFDC-FC payments on their behalf if they are enrolled full-time in high school or if they have not completed high school, are enrolled in a vocational or technical training program which cannot result in a college degree, provided they can reasonably be expected to complete either program before reaching age 19. AFDC-FC eligibility ends when the youth completes high school (or their vocational or technical training program) or turns 19, whichever comes first.

However, from a CCL perspective, the licenses of children’s residential facilities (such as group homes, FFAs, THPP and foster family homes) only permit licensees to care for children through the age of 17. Once youth turn 18, the licensees of children’s residential programs are no longer permitted to have these “adults” continue to reside in their facilities as clients, UNLESS the licensee applies for and obtains an individual exception from CCL for that purpose. Up to now, such exceptions have been routinely granted and foster youth who turn 18 and want to remain in foster care under the high-school completion rule rarely have to change their foster care placements.

When AB 12 is implemented on January 1, 2012, the high-school completion rule will no longer apply. Youth in foster care will have the option of remaining in foster care until they reach the age of 19, REGARDLESS of whether they have already completed high school prior to turning 18, or whether they are expected to complete high school before turning 19.”

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