The intent of the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Act was to increase funding to states for the expansion of the independent living program. This expansion allows the Children’s Division to serve youth with an array of services to meet their needs. Eligible youth are between the ages of 17.5 to 21, who left foster care at age 17.5 or after, but have not reached age twenty-one.
Aftercare services are meant to be flexible, short term and are intended to be used as a safety net in order to meet the needs of the young adult when:
- Remaining in state care and custody after age17.5 is not a realistic or practical option;
- The youth has requested to leave custody upon or after age 17.5 and his/her case manager has assisted him/her in developing a reasonable and acceptable exit plan; or
- The Juvenile/Family Court has automatically terminated jurisdiction on or after age 17.5.
A critical piece for young people exiting care is the ability to develop a support network, and the influence of informal role models to serve as mentors in a support network. While each of the young adult’s needs is important in its own right, we are increasingly learning the importance of significant adult relationships in supporting young adults during the transition to adulthood. Support services for former foster youth must focus on a larger target than the establishment of mentoring relationships. As we identify the important resources which will be needed by these young adults to support their efforts to achieve independence, we must develop partnerships with public and private agencies that already offer the needed services. Emphasis is placed on connecting or referring youth rather than providing financial assistance. Chafee funds may be expended for a variety of reasons and should be used as a support for the young adult, not as an on-going supplemental funding source.
Expenditures may include, but should not be limited to, emergency/crisis intervention, housing/room and board, educational assistance, job training/employment assistance, and support services. Support services should include, but are not limited to life skills, transportation, health care, mentoring, child care, and job training/employment assistance.
Case managers and service workers shall notify youth in the process of transitioning out of care about assistance available under the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, the Educational Training Voucher Program, and MO HealthNet coverage.
Youth may also contact the Division for services after they have left care. There may be several avenues former foster care youth take to return to the Division for services. Youth may directly contact their former case manager or Older Youth Transition Specialist. Youth may come to the Division for assistance through the Family Support Division (FSD) or referrals from other agencies (e.g., homeless shelters, Workforce Development, etc.). Once a youth contacts the Division for services, a referral for Chafee Aftercare services should be made to the Older Youth Transition Specialist. The Older Youth Transition Specialist will refer the youth to the contracted Chafee provider in the region of the youth’s residence.
Older Youth Transition Specialists are located and serve in the Regions/Circuits throughout the state as listed below:
- Northwest Region: Circuits - 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 17, 18, 43
- Northeast Region: Circuits - 1, 2, 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20, 23, 41, 45
- Southeast Region: Circuits - 24, 25, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42
- Southwest Region: Circuits - 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 38, 39, 40, 44
- Jackson County Region: Circuit - 16
- St. Louis Region: Circuits - 21, 22
When a youth goes to a county office the assigned Children’s Division staff will meet with and provide the young adult with the CFCIP Support Application, CS-ILP-4, form to complete. When completed the form will provide the following information:
- Identifying information for the young adult;
- Current housing situation and household composition;
- Educational level and completion;
- Employment and salary information;
- Current and outstanding bills;
- Medical/mental health needs and access;
- Available family/community resources;
- Current/future needs;
- Ability/inability to reach self-sufficiency and continued independence;
- Present and future goals; and
- Willingness to accept personal responsibility.
CD staff or the Older Youth Transition Specialist will complete a database search to confirm the current age of the young adult and the age at discharge to ensure program eligibility and document the findings on the Older Youth Program Referral form. Upon making contact with the young adult and receiving information of the young adults need for Chafee Aftercare services, the Children’s Division county liaison/contact person for former foster care youth shall immediately notify the Older Youth Transition Specialist assigned to their county by faxing or mailing the Older Youth Program Referral form and, if completed, the CFCIP Support Application, CS-ILP-4, to the Older Youth Transition Specialist. The Older Youth Transition Specialist shall forward the referral to the contracted Chafee Foster Care Independence Program agency. The CFCIP contracted agency will assist the young adult in designing a plan that is realistic and supports their efforts to become self-sufficient or to continue to live independently. The agreement shall be updated or renegotiated as often as needed. In the event of a crisis, if the Older Youth Transition Specialist is not accessible, the county liaison/contact person for former foster care youth may contact the Older Youth Transition Specialist’s supervisor. Even in a crisis situation, the county liaison/contact person for former foster care youth will follow the procedure of referring the young adult to the designated Older Youth Transition Specialist by faxing the Older Youth Program Referral form to the appropriate, available Older Youth Program staff. The Older Youth Transition Specialist or Older Youth Program staff shall immediately follow up with the county liaison/contact person for former foster care youth involved with the young adult.
Healthcare for Former Foster Care Youth
Youth who have exited the State's custody 30 days prior to or after their 18th birthday and are not yet 26 years old are automatically eligible for MO HealthNet coverage. Youth are eligible without regard to their income or assets, per RSMo 208.151.1 (SB 577, 2007 and SB 127, 2013). The youth's most current address is needed so that the youth may receive a MO HealthNet card. Once the youth receives his/her healthcare card they should enroll into a MO HealthNet Managed Care plan for their physical healthcare; if they reside in a geographic area covered by Managed Care, their behavioral healthcare will be provided on a fee-for-service basis.
For those youth who are Missouri residents but are attending an out-of-state school or on a visit outside of Missouri, the out-of-state provider must be willing to enroll in the MO HealthNet program. Per federal requirements, Medicaid cannot be opened in two states at the same time.
If former foster care youth has health insurance or obtains health insurance from another source such as employment, they must use their third party insurance before using MO HealthNet. The youth will need to inform their medical/behavioral services provider that they are eligible for MO HealthNet.