"Without the proper information how else would we know what to expect or what to choose? I thought the transition planning was very useful.” – Carly age 20. Transition planning is essential to ensure youth have the necessary information to make informed decisions about their future.
The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) states the importance for states to assist youth preparing for a successful transition to adulthood and making a permanent connection with a caring adult. For a young person, who may transition from foster care at age eighteen (18), permanency may look different than the normal practice standards of helping a young person achieve permanency. Permanency in situations like this means having stable, reliable, and supportive lifelong connections. Youth transitioning from foster care are often unsure about who they can depend on for ongoing support. Many of their significant relationships with adults have been based on professional connections, which will terminate once the transition from care is completed. It is very important to the youth’s success to assist them in identifying those adults who will continue to provide various supports through and beyond transition from care. The independent living specialist (ILS) will assist the youth in identifying supports to attend the transition planning meetings and may include teachers, mentors, employers, family members, foster/adoptive parents, guardian ad litems, mental health providers, etc. The youth’s social worker or FSOS must participate in all transition meetings (participation can be by phone). During the transition planning meeting, the ILS will educate everyone in attendance about the permanency pact tool and discuss next steps in completing a permanency pact ceremony for those interested.
Independent living services should be provided according to the developmental needs and differing stages of independence of the youth. Services should not be seen as a single event but rather as a series of activities designed over time to support the youth in attaining a level of self-sufficiency that allows for a productive adult life.
- Eligible youth-a person who is or has been committed to the cabinet as dependent, neglected or abused, is eighteen (18) years of age to nineteen (19) years of age and who is requesting to extend or reinstate his or her commitment to the cabinet in order to participate in state or federal educational programs or to establish independent living arrangements;
- Transitional living support-all benefits to which an eligible youth is entitled upon being granted extended or reinstated commitment to the cabinet by the courts.
- The terms of the Transitional Living Support Agreement are customized for each youth requesting transitional living support and based on the individual needs and circumstances. A Transitional Living Support Agreement template is located under forms and resources section of this SOP.
- The terms of the Transitional Living Support Agreement should be signed by the youth, social services worker, Guardian ad litem, and judge.
- An eligible youth, including a youth with a diagnosis or disability, is permitted to extend or reinstate his/her commitment to the cabinet prior to attaining nineteen (19) years of age. This reinstatement will allow the youth to be committed to the Cabinet until the age of twenty-one (21) and to receive transitional living support.
- For youth transitioning from OOHC or requesting to participate in an extension of transitional living support, the SSW may make a referral to the regional placement coordinator (RPC) for transitional services, in the county where the youth has chosen to reside, for youth in residential facilities, group homes, private agency foster homes, or other similar placements.
- Youth with a diagnosis of developmental or intellectual disability who would like to voluntarily participate in an extension of transitional living support, have the right to voluntarily extend their commitment. Once custody of the youth is received by DCBS, the youth should be placed on the supports for community living (SCL) waiting list.
For a child age fourteen (14) and over, the case plan should include a list of the programs and services that will help the child prepare for the transition from foster care to a successful adulthood. 1
The formal transition plan meeting is initiated beginning at age seventeen (17) by the ILS for youth who remain in out of home care (OOHC). The meeting may be incorporated into the case planning conference. This plan is designed to be personalized and youth driven, should be as detailed as the youth desires and should include information regarding:
- Specific options for housing;
- Health insurance; 2
- Designating a health care proxy; 3
- Mentoring opportunities;
- Continuing support services;
- Workforce supports; and
- Employment services.
The ILS will assist the youth in identifying supports to attend the transition planning meetings. Supports may include: teachers, mentors, employers, family members, foster/adoptive parents, guardian ad litems, mental health providers, etc. The youth’s social worker or FSOS must participate in all transition meetings (participation can be by phone). During the transition planning meeting, the ILS will educate everyone in attendance about the permanency pact tool and discuss next steps in completing a permanency pact ceremony for those interested. For youth placed more than sixty (60) miles away from their office, the ILS should make every effort to utilize Zoom or Skype group meeting technology.
Within ninety (90) days prior to the youth attaining age eighteen (18), a meeting facilitated by the ILS must occur, face-to-face, to further discuss transition planning. The youth should be supported in making well informed decisions about their future, transition to adulthood, well-being and other aspects of their case and permanency planning (42 USC 675 (5)(H)). 4
This meeting is different then the intitial formal transition plan meeting and should be held independently of a case planning conference; although it may be held on the same day, it is important that this meeting is distinct and stand alone. The participants for a case planning conference may differ from those invited to attend the ninety (90) day transition plan meeting. This meeting should be strength-based and directed by the youth. The youth should have equal consideration to the adult voices during the meeting. The ILS shall provide every youth an FYI Binder at the ninety (90) day transition meeting, which includes resources to aid in the successful transition to adulthood. The ILS will also facilitate meetings for youth in OOHC at nineteen (19) years old, twenty (20) years old, and within sixty (60) days prior to their twenty-first (21st) birthday. For youth placed more than sixty (60) miles away from their office, the ILS should make every effort to utilize Zoom or Skype group meeting technology.
For youth transitioning from OOHC:
- Must provide the youth the following documents:
- Certified birth certificate; 5
- All youth in OOHC are entitled to a free certified birth certificate. The birth certificate can be ordered by the youth, any DCBS representative, or private child care (PCC) staff. Youth in OOHC may request a birth certificate via Kentucky RISE, DCBS staff may request a birth certificate on the TWIST home screen. PCC staff may request a birth certificate for a youth in OOHC on the PCC portal homepage. 6
- Original Social Security card;
- Identification card; and
- Custody Verification Letter. 7
- Should provide the following:
- Information abouth the youth's personal and family health, including a list of health care providers
- Death certificate(s) of parents, as appropriate
- Pictures or lifebook
- List of all schools attended
- Information about the youth's educational history; and
- List of all previous placements, including names and addresses.
- Will ensure the youth has completed an exit survey or will complete on youth's behalf, prior to exiting the youth from care. The survey can be found at Kentucky RISE.
- May consider a special request for basic living items such as bedspread, dishes, rent, and utility deposits. The special request should not exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and requires the approval of the SRA or designee.
The Independent Living Specialist (ILS):
- Will encourage youth to create an ifoster account and save a copy of their vital documents to their digital locker.
- Should provide a paper or electronic exit packet, which provides information on community resources and supports.
For youth extending commitment:
With the agreeance of the courts and DCBS, a youth in OOHC may choose to extend commitment to receive transitional living support. If the youth desires to extend commitment and DCBS is not in agreement, the ILS will advise the youth of their right to file a service complaint in accordance with 922 KAR 1:320.
The SSW, ILS, and youth should develop and sign the Transitional Living Support Agreement during the ninety (90) day transition-planning meeting or prior to their court hearing to extend commitment.
All youth on extended commitment must:
- Maintain full-time employment (at least thirty (30) hours per week);
- Attend high school or a post-secondary program full-time;
- Work part-time and participate in a post-secondary program part-time; or
- Have a diagnosed disability, which precludes them from meeting the work or education requirement. Such youth should be receiving support in developing independent living arrangements.
The youth’s Transitional Living Support Agreement and plan to either work and/or attend school should be customized to the youth’s individual circumstances, capabilities, and goals.
Youth must maintain the minimum requirements for being on extended commitment. Youth who do not maintain these requirements will be placed on a probation contract. An additional FTM may also assist in reviewing and potentially renegotiating the agreement.
For youth who remain noncompliant, DCBS may notify the court of their intent to terminate their commitment. In this event, the SSW must advise the youth of their right to file a service complaint in accordance 922 KAR 1:320.
In addition to the minimum requirements above, youth on extended commitment must also:
Maintain their FYI Binder;
Work toward milestones prescribed by the independent living guidelines for youth on extended commitment. Youth who complete the minimally required milestones will receive an incentive at their annual transition meeting;
Provide monthly documentation to confirm they are meeting the work and/or school requirement. For youth placed in scattered site apartment settings, program staff will withhold stipend until the youth provides required documentation.
Youth living in scattered site placement:
Youth must be at least eighteen (18) years old to be placed in a scattered site apartment placement. However, youth should not automatically be considered appropriate for a scattered site apartment upon turning eighteen (18) years old.
SSW should consider the following when placing a youth in a scattered site placement:
Youth should demonstrate a certain level of maturity and mastery of basic life skills prior to being placed in a scattered site apartment.
Has the youth earned a high school diploma?
Has the youth completed the independent living curriculum and received the incentive?
Has the youth been stable in their current placement for at least three (3) months?
Is the youth currently placed in a residential setting? If yes, has a search been completed to identify a foster home for the youth? A step down to a foster home is more ideal than transitioning directly to a scattered site program.
Has the youth demonstrated the ability to properly administer their medication and tend to their other mental/physical health needs?
Has the youth demonstrated the ability to complete minimal basic life skills such as cooking meals, cleaning and maintaining home safety?
Has the youth created an ifoster account and saved their vital documents in a digital locker?
Has the youth completed a career assessment?
SSW should also make efforts to avoid moving youth from one ILP program to another one in the same locale. SSW should work with program staff to address issues and involve the PCC liaison in central office if needed.
For youth placed in scattered site apartment settings, program staff will withhold rent each month from their stipend and maintain the money in a savings for the youth. Program staff will provide a monthly ledger of savings balance to the youth.
For youth placed in scattered site apartment settings, program staff and youth will complete a walk-through of the unit upon move in and exit. The cost of repair to the unit for any damages caused by the youth may be recouped from the youth’s savings, up to five hundred dollars ($500).
Within thirty (30) days of exiting the program, program staff must provide the youth their savings.
Youth requesting to return to care:
An eligible youth who aged out of care at eighteen (18) years old, is allowed to request his/her commitment to the cabinet prior to attaining nineteen (19) years of age. This reinstatement will allow the youth to be committed to the cabinet until the age of twenty-one (21) and to receive transition living support.
Youth will complete a request to return to care at kyrise.ky.gov Kentucky RISE
Central office will notify the appropriate regional ILS of the request.
- The regional ILS will contact the youth and convene a meeting to give the youth an opportunity to explain why they would like to return to care. The group will also discuss potential placement options and expectations if the youth returns to care. The youth's previous social worker and/or FSOS will participate in the meeting. The youth should also be encouraged to invite any support persons to participate. The meeting can be conducted in person or by phone.
- The county of commitment will be responsible for filing a petition with the court for the youth to be reinstated into care and will be responsible for ongoing case management.
- Once the youth is reinstated into the care of the cabinet, the SSW may make a referral to the regional placement coordinator (RPC) for transitional services in the county where the youth has chosen to reside. If the county is not agreeable to the youth returning to care, the ILS will advise the youth of their right to petition the court directly and provide the contact information for their previous guardian ad litem, who may assist them with the petition process. The ILS will also advise the youth of their right to file a service complaint in accordance with 922 KAR 1:320.
For youth with disabilities, the SSW and ILS completes the following procedures, in addition to the general transition planning provisions (listed above):
Ensures youth has an updated psychological examination;
Ensures the youth’s case has been reviewed for SSI eligibility;
Ensures an adult application is completed one hundred and eighty (180) days prior to the youth turning eighteen (18) years old, for youth receiving SSI;
Completes the Kentucky Medicaid Waiver Intake Application (through the MWMA System) when appropriate, and ensures the youth is placed on the waiting list for all applicable waiver and assistance programs. SSW should enlist the assistance of the community mental health centers in completing the application (this is to be completed upon receiving youth into DCBS custody);
Begins seeking a guardian for youth, if it is determined that this is in the youth’s best interest;
Assesses family members to identify a guardian (full or limited) to assume responsibilities, outside of placement, for youth over eighteen (18) years of age;
Communicates the need for a guardian with guardianship, if no appropriate family members are identified;
Notifies guardianship prior to a youth transitioning from foster care, for youth with an IQ lower that seventy (70) and/or low adaptive functioning capabilities; and
Shall make every effort to ensure the applicable resources such as guardianship, SSI, SCL, etc. are in place prior to a youth with an IQ lower than seventy (70) and/or low adaptive functioning capabilities transitioning from foster care.
Facilitates the transition planning meeting of the seventeen (17) year old ;
Should ensure the transition plan is completed within ninety (90) days prior to the youth attaining age eighteen (18).
Invites the following individuals to the transition planning meetings (list is not all inclusive):
The youth’s social worker (social workers or their FSOS must participate in all transition planning meetings);
Mental health provider for the youth;
Adult protective services staff;
Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities staff; and
Will ensure guardianship staff are invited to transition planning meetings for youth with disabilities, and document on the transition plan if guardianship staff is not in attendance.
The SSW and ILS should refer to the following resources:
Youth transitioning thru foster care tip sheet;
Transitional Flow Chart; and
Transitioning Youth with Disabilities Resource Manual and webinar.