Extended Foster Care Program Ages 18-21

Extended Foster Care is a program that offers young adults an opportunity to continue foster care placement and transition to independence with county child welfare agency supervision. 

Eligibility and Requirements

Young adults who were in foster care upon their 18th birthday may continue to receive foster care benefits and services up to 21 years of age as long as one of the following criteria is met on an ongoing basis:

  • Completing high school or a program leading to an equivalent credential; or
  • Enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary or vocational education; or 
  • Participating in a program of activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment; or
  • Employed at least 80 hours per month; or 
  • Incapable of completing the educational or employment requirements due to a medical condition or a disability. 

Steps to Extended Foster Care

Young adults who wish to take advantage of extended care must also:

  • Have been in foster care upon his/her 18th birthday; and
  • Be 18 years of age, but not yet 21 years of age
  • Enter into a Voluntary Placement Agreement with a county child welfare agency and agree to abide by the provisions of the agreements; and 
  • Agree to reside in an approved placement.
Successful Transition Elements

Placement Requirements

The young adult must be placed in an eligible setting, which is defined as a family foster home, group home facility, college or university, dormitory, or semi-supervised independent living arrangement (the young adult must not be placed in a locked detention facility).

County Oversight of Placement

Ongoing casework is required for young adults receiving Foster Care 18 to 21 services. County child welfare agencies must make reasonable efforts to implement services and supports for independent living which include:

  • Development and maintenance of individualized Transitional Living Plan
  • Development of a Transition Plan 90 days prior to the young adult's 21st birthday exit from care
  • Monthly contacts with young adult, including quarterly in-home assessments
  • Case review meetings to provide support to the young adult in developing and achieving goals
  • Regular reviews and verification of eligibility conditions; and 
  • Yearly credit checks.
  1. Tonia Macchia

    Extended Foster Care Social Worker