Foster Youth in Transition Program

Overview:

HB21-1094: The Foster Youth in Transition Program Act establishes a transition program that allows eligible foster youth to voluntarily continue to receive certain child welfare services until the last day of the month in which a youth’s twenty-first birthday occurs, or such greater age of foster care eligibility as required by federal law. Services provided are client-directed and developmentally appropriate as set forth in and agreed to through a Voluntary Services Agreement (VSA) entered into between the youth and county department. Each year youth transition out of the foster care system without permanent placement or social support. The Foster Youth in Transition Program aids with:

  • Enrolling in Medicaid
  • Assistance with securing and maintaining appropriate housing
  • Case management services including: developing a roadmap to success, securing and maintaining employment, obtaining vital documents and records, and accessing information about relatives and siblings while building permanent connections.

Eligibility:  

  • Youth must be eighteen years of age or older, but less than twenty-one years of age, or such greater age of foster care eligibility as required by federal law. 
  • Must be in foster care on or after their 16th birthday or in non-certified kinship care or after their 16th birthday. Youth must be adjudicated dependent and neglected. 
  • Youth actively chooses to enter into a Voluntary Service Agreement (VSA) with the county department or has entered and is substantially in compliance with VSA. 

Requirements: 

Youth must participate in at least one of the following activities:

  • Youth must be working to complete high school or a program that will lead to a qualification like a high school diploma or,
  • Be attending a college, university, or educational program related to employment or,
  • Working part-time or full-time at least 80 hours a month or,
  • Participating in a program or activity that aids in obtaining employment or,
  • Is unable to participate in the above because of a medical condition that is supported by regularly updated documentation on the youth's case plan.

Pathways:

  • Voluntarily transitioning from a D&N case to a Foster Youth in Transition case 
    • Upon 18th birthday, Guardian ad Litem (GAL) will begin acting as counsel and providing client direct representation
    • Youth has option to continue with same counsel or have a new person appointed at the first hearing following the youth’s 18th birthday 
    • Department of Human Services explains program and provides a Voluntary Service Agreement
    • Department of Human Services prepares and executes Voluntary Service Agreement with youths and provides a copy
  • Reentering the system through the Foster Youth in Transition Program  
    • Youth makes a request to Department of Human Services 
    • Department of Human Services explains program and provides a Voluntary Service Agreement  
    • Department of Human Services prepares and executes Voluntary Service Agreement with youths and provides a copy. 
    • Upon entering Voluntary Service Agreement, Department of Human Services makes a referral to Office of the Child’s Representative (OCR) 
    • The Office of the Child’s Representative receives the referral and assigns counsel 

OverviewA graphic showing an overview of Youth in Transition program.

 Photo By: Ashley Chase & Cara Nord 

Voluntary Services Agreement (VSA) 

What is it? 

  • An agreement written by the county department and youth stating the terms of the youth’s participation in a foster youth in transition case.
  • Required in order to participate in the program 
  • The agreement allows youth to continue services with DHS 

Petition: Form and Consent 

  • May be filed by the youth 
  • Must be filed by county when youth is in an article 3 case
    • Must be filed no later than 90 days after a youth signs VSA 
  • VSA is filed with the petition
  • Roadmap to Success needs to be attach for youth in D&N cases
    • A description of the youth's goals, programs, and services provided during an open case. 
  • Emancipation Transition Plan 
    • The plan addresses how the youth will meet their needs upon leaving foster care. 
    • 90 days prior to the youth’s discharge hearing 

Who can make a Foster Youth in Transition Program referral? 

  • County 
  • Chafee
  • Court 
  • GALs
  • Community providers
  • Youth
  • Anyone

Make a referral

Resources: