Sponsored by Representative Roberts, HB 1302 states that the juvenile courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all proceedings relating to any individual age eighteen to twenty-one years who is eligible and elects to receive extended foster care services. These services include, but are not limited to, placement in licensed, relative, or otherwise approved care, or supervised independent living settings; assistance in meeting basic needs; independent living services; medical assistance; and counseling or treatment. If at the time of the permanency hearing, the youth is at least seventeen years and six months old, he or she must be provided with written documentation explaining the availability of these services and gives detailed instructions about how the youth can access the services. The court will dismiss the dependency case when the youth turns eighteen years old. At any time after this happens (until age 21), the youth may request extended foster care services, at which point the department will file a petition with the court and the court will determine whether the youth is eligible and, if so, establish a dependency case and appoint counsel. The foster care rate for the youth will be set with the rebuttable presumption that this rate must not be lower than that which was provided before he or she turned eighteen years old. If the department chooses not to file a petition, it must document its decision, including its reasons, and file that document with the court, at which time the court will set a hearing date to determine eligibility. The court will appoint counsel to represent the youth at this hearing. A youth whose dependency guardianship has been dismissed because he or she has turned eighteen years old is eligible for extended foster care if he or she meets the other requirements.
The department and supervising agencies will provide continued extended foster care services to non-minor dependents who are enrolled in a secondary education or secondary education equivalency program, enrolled and participating in a postsecondary academic or vocational education program, participating in a program or activity designed to promote employment or remove barriers to employment, engaged of employment for 80 hours or more per month, or incapable of engaging in any of these activities due to a medical condition that is supported by regularly updated information.
Substitute bill (as amended by the ELHS committee): 1302 Substitute: The DSHS must provide a foster youth who is between ages of 17 and 17-1/2 with written documentation which explains the availability of extended foster care services and detailed instructions regarding how the youth may access services at age 18. This must be done, rather than waiting for a permanency hearing which occurs nearest to date that the youth turns 17-1/2. The court must maintain a dependency proceeding for a foster youth who turns 18, meeting the eligibility criteria for extended foster care services and who agrees to receive extended foster care services. The court must dismiss the dependency proceeding for a foster youth who turns 18 and who does not meet the eligibility requirements or does not wish to receive extended foster care services. The DSHS is authorized to set rates for extended foster care services. A youth who is at least 18 years old but has not turned 21, may request extended foster care services by entering into a VPA with the DSHS if the youth meets the eligibility criteria and agrees to an entry of an order of dependency within six months of the agreement. A youth leaving JRA after age 18 and who had an open dependency case at the time of admission and a youth between the ages of 18 and 18-1/2 who has an open dependency case at the time that the bill goes into effect may enter into a VPA. New definitions for "medical condition," "nonminor dependent," "supervised independent living" and "voluntary placement agreement" are provided. The definition of extended foster care services is modified.
Appropriations amendments: The amendment passed by the House Appropriations commi ttee did the following-- (1) Restores existing statutory language to clarify that the court will postpone, for 6 months, closing a dependency proceeding of a youth who turns 18 years old while in foster care to allow an eligible youth to request extended foster care services. (2) Restores existing statutory language that provides that the Department of Social and Health Services is relieved of any supervisory responsibility for a foster youth who has turned 18 until he or she requests extended foster care services. (3) Clarifies that only nonminor dependents who have an open dependency matter when they turn 18 years old and who have requested extended foster care services before turning 18 years and 6 months old, as well participating in one of the required activities, are eligible to receive extended foster care services.
As amended by the House: When a youth is between the ages of 17 and 17-1/2, the DSHS must provide the youth with written documentation which explains the availability of extended foster care services and detailed instructions regarding how the youth may access those services after they reach age 18. When a youth with an open dependency turns 18, the court must keep the dependency case open for a six-month grace period if the youth meets one of the following eligibility requirements: (1) is enrolled in a secondary education program or a secondary education equivalency program; (2) is enrolled and participating in a postsecondary academic or postsecondary program; or (3) is participating in a program or activity designed to promote employment or remove barriers to employment. A youth receiving extended foster care services remains a party to the dependency proceeding. The youth's parent or guardian must be dismissed. The DSHS has the authority to establish foster care rates for youth receiving extended foster care services, and it does not have supervisory responsibility for a youth over age 18 who has an open dependency but has not requested extended foster care services. If a youth with an open dependency case at age 18 does not request extended foster care services within the six-month grace period, the court must dismiss the dependency.
As amended by the HSC Committee: The timeline in which a youth may request extended foster care services was clarified. When a foster youth turns 18 years of age, the court must keep the dependency open. The youth then has six months to meet one of the eligibility criteria and request extended foster care services. The court must dismiss the dependency at the end of six months if the youth does not become eligible or does not request services. The definitions of nonminor dependent and supervised independent living were amended.