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  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 24: Extended Foster Care Program
24-2  Participation Conditions and Verification - Extended Foster Care

 

Extended Foster Care Program
24-2  Participation Conditions and Verification - Extended Foster Care
Reference Points
Overview
Participation Conditions
Documenting Participation Conditions

Participation Condition #1:

Participation in a Secondary Education Program

Verification of Condition #1:

Participation in or Completion of Secondary Education

Participation Condition  #2:

Enrollment in Post Secondary or Vocational Education

Verification of Condition #2: Enrollment at a

Post Secondary or Vocational Institution

Eligible Post Secondary Institutions
When Courses Are Not Available
When a Student Drops a Course

Participation Condition #3:

Remove Barriers to Employment

Verification of Condition #3:

Remove Barriers to Employment

Examples of Programs and Activities for Removing Barriers to Employment
Participation Condition #4:

Employed for at Least 80 Hours per Month

Participation Condition #5: Incapable of School or Work Participation  Due to a Medical Condition

Verification of Condition #5: Disability Benefits Status

Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: 1/1/12
Last Updated: 7/9/13
 Legal Basis:
pdf California Department of Social Services (CDSS) All County Letter (ACL) #11-61: Extended Foster Care (EFC)
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
pdf

Six-Month Certification of Extended Foster Care Participation

(SOC 161)

 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Case Management Section: Case Plan and Transitional Independent Living Plan
bullet Service Management Section: Contacts


Overview   One of the five conditions listed in the following sections of this OPP chapter, or a combination of the first four listed conditions, can satisfy the participation requirements for extended foster care (EFC).  Every six months, the non-minor dependent (NMD) and social worker, along with input from persons significant to the NMD, update the NMD’s Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP), in which the participation condition(s) which qualifies the NMD for EFC is identified.  In the TILP, each NMD should have a primary plan for participation by meeting one or more of the participation conditions as well as a back-up plan in the event that the NMD is not able to carry out the primary plan.  The identification of a back-up plan enables it to be assumed that the NMD is continuously participating in his or her TILP during periods of transition from one activity to another. 
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Participation Conditions  

There are five participation conditions related to extended foster care.  A non-minor dependent must be a participant in at least one of the conditions or at least one of the conditions must apply to the NMD.

  1. Completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential.

  2. Enrolled in an institution which provides post secondary or vocational education.

  3. Participating in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment.

  4. Employed for at least 80 hours per month.

  5. Incapable of doing any of the activities described in 1-4 above due to a medical condition and that incapability is supported by regularly updated information in the case plan of the non-minor dependent.
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Documenting Participation Conditions  

The qualifying participation condition(s) and a back-up plan are documented on the Six-Month Certification of Extended Foster Care Participation (SOC 161) and must be updated every six (6) months and submitted to Natalie Faulds (located on the 5th floor at 373 W Julian) for data entry and tracking.  Natalie will forward the required forms to foster care eligibility and notify the social worker every six months when the SOC161 is due. 

The most current SOC161 is attached to the court report submitted at each Six-Month Review Hearing for tracking purposes.

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Participation Condition #1:

Participation in a Secondary Education Program

 

In order to satisfy the criteria of completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential, the NMD must be enrolled in a program of secondary education.  Enrollment is considered continuous during any summer or other scheduled break in the school program.

A program of secondary education includes, but is not limited to a:

  • Public high school
  • Charter high school
  • Private high school
  • Alternative high school/ Continuation school/Independent study
  • Home schooling
  • Non-public school
  • Adult education classes
  • Any other course of study leading towards completion of a high school diploma
  • Adult school to complete a General Equivalency Degree (GED)
  • High School Proficiency Certificate
  • High School Completion Certificate
  • Participating in special education activities as described in his/her Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
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Verification of Condition #1:

Participation in or Completion of Secondary Education

 

Acceptable documentation of participation in secondary education must indicate the courses in which the student is enrolled.  Examples are:

  • Unofficial transcript
  • Electronic copy of the NMD’s current course schedule
  • Letter from the institution
  • Completion of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) (considered equivalent to graduation from high school)
  • Proof of enrollment for the current semester that includes the number of hours enrolled
  • Most recent high school report cards
  • Student’s class schedules, testing schedules, or final exam results
  • Letters of acceptance to a qualified program such as GED programs
  • Proof of online distance learning classes, including attendance and completion criteria
  • Other applicable school related documentation
 

Once eligibility has been established with one or more of the above items, the social worker must ensure that the youth is continuing to meet the eligibility requirements through monthly face-to-face meetings with the youth.  The social worker documents the discussions in CWS/CMS Contacts.

The youth must provide the social worker with documentation no later than 30 days after completion of a school semester, certification completion date, or other educational completion date that tracks the youth’s continued eligibility for extended foster care.
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Participation Condition  #2: Enrollment in Post Secondary or Vocational Education  

In order to satisfy the criteria of enrollment in an institution which provides post-secondary or vocational education, a non-minor dependent must be enrolled at least half-time. In most institutions, including the California public college and university systems, half-time consists of enrollment in at least six semester course units or the quarter course equivalent.  Other standards of tracking may be used by various institutions.  Following are some points related to enrollment in post secondary or vocational education of which social workers should be aware.

  • Formal admission to an institution is not required. 
    • Students may enroll in individual courses without being enrolled in the institution. 
  • Courses taken at any institution which is licensed to operate in the State of California or taken at a comparable institution located or licensed to operate in another state counts towards the participation requirement. 
  •  Coursework can be taken at multiple institutions to equal the half-time standard.
  • Required remedial courses as a pre-requisite to enroll in a standard general education coursework count towards the participation requirement.
    • The remedial courses do not have to meet the standard amount of units as other coursework (3 units per class).
    • The part-time equivalent of two courses qualifies the NMD as meeting the post secondary education requirements.
  • NMDs on summer or scheduled school breaks are or continue to be eligible.
  • NMDs awaiting admissions determinations or pending enrollment in classes are or continue to be eligible.

 

If an NMD is enrolled in a post-secondary education or vocational training program at less than half-time (taking only one course, for example), requirements for participation condition #2 for EFC benefits is not met.  However, in this situation, the NMD may qualify for EFC benefits under participation condition #3, an activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment.
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Verification of Condition #2: Enrollment at a

Post Secondary or Vocational Institution

 

Acceptable documentation of participation in post secondary or vocational institution includes:

  • Proof of enrollment that indicates the credit and non-credit courses that the student is enrolled in
  • Unofficial transcript
    • Official transcripts are not required
  • An electronic copy of the student’s current course schedule
  • A letter from the institution
  • Proof of enrollment for the current semester that includes the number of hours enrolled
  • Letters of acceptance to a college, vocational or technical school (with a start date)
 
Once eligibility has been established with one or more of the above items, the social worker must ensure that the youth is continuing to meet the eligibility requirements through monthly face-to-face meetings with the youth.  The social worker documents the discussions in CWS/CMS Contacts.
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Eligible Post Secondary Institutions  

Qualifying post-secondary institutions include but are not limited to:

  • All public post secondary systems in California
    • Community Colleges, State Universities, University of California schools
  • All public post secondary systems outside of California
  • Schools approved by the Bureau for Private Post secondary Education
  • Schools accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Schools approved or accredited through a similar body in another state
  • Courses taken through correspondence or on-line studies that are affiliated with a licensed institution

 

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When Courses Are Not Available  

If an NMD is unable to enroll in any coursework due to required classes being full, participation condition #3 (activities to remove barriers) should be used for supporting the NMD until the NMD can enroll in the next available semester. 
If an NMD is only able to enroll in one course and does not meet the part-time requirement, the NMD is eligible under participation condition #3, and this should be documented in the Transitional Living Case Plan (TILP), if it is not already listed as a back-up plan.

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When a Student Drops a Course  

If a non- minor dependent (NMD) who is participating in a post-secondary education program drops courses mid-term, whether voluntarily or non-voluntarily, the NMD is not automatically disqualified from extended foster care (EFC) benefits.  The NMD should be given a reasonable amount of time to start participation in a different participation condition.  Participation in condition #3, an activity designed to promote, or remove barriers to employment, is the best option to transition a non-minor dependent into another participation condition or to bridge the gap if he/she wants to enroll in classes again the next semester. 

When developing the Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP), the social worker and NMD will want to detail participation condition #3 as a back-up plan to cover situations such as the student dropping courses.

If the NMD does not wish to use participation condition #3, the court must review the circumstances surrounding the student’s decision.  The court must determine if the NMD can maintain eligibility until there is an opportunity to re-enroll the following term.

Circumstances that would be considered extenuating factors preventing a student from completing coursework might include:

  • The student has learning disabilities or mental health issues (diagnosed or undiagnosed) that prevented the student from successfully completing the coursework.
  • A personal or family emergency, such as the loss of housing, family illness, medical emergency, or intervention by the young person’s family of origin interfered with the student’s ability to complete coursework.
  • A lack of affordable childcare interfered with the student’s ability to attend classes or complete coursework.
  • The courses in which the student enrolled were inappropriate for his/her skill level and the student must first take remedial classes or access tutoring services in order to successfully complete college level coursework.
  • A delay in financial assistance or other financial hardship presented a barrier to completing coursework.

 

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Participation Condition #3:

Remove Barriers to Employment

 

A program or activity designed to promote, or remove barriers to employment is an individualized program based on a youth-centered assessment of skills and needs.  Activities can be self-directed, completed in conjunction with a non-minor dependent’s caregiver or social worker, or part of an organized program.  

Unpaid employment, internships, volunteer activities, vocational rehabilitation, or participation in a substance abuse program also meet this participation condition.

This participation condition is intended to help bridge gaps in a non-minor dependent’s (NMD's) readiness for achieving more responsibility in college, vocational school, or employment.  An NMD who is meeting eligibility requirements solely through this participation condition should be working toward developing skills that will help him/her to transition to the education or employment participation conditions to ensure that he/she is adequately prepared to transition to independence at the end of his/her time in extended foster care (EFC).

An NMD shall be deemed participating in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment as long as the youth is working toward meeting goal(s) in his/her Transitional Independent Living Case Plan (TILP) by participating in an Independent Living Program activity or a program that moves the youth forward in reaching a goal on his/her TILP.

For non-minor dependents meeting eligibility solely through this requirement, at the six month certification period consideration should be given as to whether the non-minor dependent can successfully move to another eligibility condition.  This participation condition should always be used as a back-up plan for the non-minor dependent’s TILP in case the non-minor dependent intentionally or unintentionally experiences a break in participation in an educational or employment activity part way through the six-month eligibility certification period. For example, the non-minor dependent quits his/her job but does not have other employment lined up.

 

For a non-minor who is re-entering foster care after a break, the initial meeting with the social worker to select the participation activity satisfies the requirement of removing barriers to employment. However, the non-minor must begin participating in the activity within a reasonable amount of time after re-entry.

 

 

 

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Verification of Condition #3:

Remove Barriers to Employment

   Verification for participation condition #3 varies, depending on the activity in which the non-minor dependent (NMD) is participating. A certificate of completion for a class or training is sufficient for a more formal or structured programs.

 

However, as this category is very broad, verification can also be as flexible as documentation in a CWS/CMS Contact when the NMD shows the case manager a revised resume or discusses the outcome of job searches and/or interviews.              
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Examples of Programs and Activities for Removing Barriers to Employment  

The program or activities designed to remove barriers to employment in which the youth participates may include:

  • job skill classes/training
  • distance learning
  • on-line tutorials
  • job shadowing
  • mentoring
  • volunteering

  • internship and apprenticeship
  • resume/interview skills classes/training
  • career exploration classes/training/programs
  • dress/hygiene/health care management classes/training
  • counseling/therapy
  • social skills classes/training/programs
  • anger management classes/training/programs
  • substance abuse treatment
  • mental health treatment
  • domestic violence/dating violence programs
  • teen parent classes or programs
  • navigating public transportation
  • registering and participating with the OneStop
  • budget and money management classes/training/programs
  • driver’s education
  • enrolled in ILP or participating in ILP
  • Workforce Investment Act case management
  • Enrollment in at least one course at college or a vocational program for  credit or non-credit

 

 

Non-credit courses which count towards the participation requirement include,

but are not limited to, the following classifications of courses:

  • Basic Skills
  • Developmental or Remedial Education
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) courses
  • College and Career Planning or College Success Skills Courses
  • Workforce Preparation Courses
  • Education Programs for Persons with Substantial Disabilities
  • Home Economics Careers and Technology
  • Not-for-credit Vocational Programs
  • Courses taken through University of California Extension or Cal State Open University
  • Other such activities designed to promote or remove barriers to employment.

Examples of a resource and work programs:

    • Job Corps
    • VISTA
    • Workforce Investment Boards
    • One Stops
    • Ticket to Work

Social workers may contact DFCS’s Career Development Unit at (408)-501-6826 for more information on job training programs.

 

 

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Participation Condition #4:

Employed for at Least 80 Hours per Month

 

In order to satisfy the criteria of employed for at least 80 hours a month, a non-minor dependent (NMD) must be engaged in full- or part-time employment activities which includes:

  • Paid internships
  •  Apprenticeships
  •  Ticket to Work (for individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income), or
  • Work study programs

The NMD can be engaged in a combination of paid employment activities at one or more places of employment in order to meet the 80 hours a month requirement. As long as the NMD is scheduled to work at least 80 hours a month, he/she shall be deemed to meet this participation condition even if the NMD does not actually work that number of hours due to holidays, illness, approved vacation (by employer), or other circumstances beyond the non-minor’s control.

Any earned income shall be disregarded for purposes of eligibility determination as specified in the NMD's Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP).
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Verification of Condition #4: Employed 80 Hours per Month  

Verification of employment for at least 80 hours per month may include :

  • A copy the non-minor dependent’s (NMD's) work schedule
  • Pay stubs
  • A statement of hiring from the employer, or
  • A statement of acceptance from the apprenticeship or internship program.

     

 

 

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Participation Condition #5: Incapable of School or Work Participation  Due to a Medical Condition  

In order to satisfy the eligibility criteria set forth in W&IC section 11403 (b)(5), two determinations must be made.

  • First, a non-minor dependent (NMD) must have a “medical condition.”

  • Second, the medical condition must render the minor incapable of doing any of the other four participation conditions.

A “medical condition” is a physical or mental state that limits a non-minor dependent’s ability to participate in any of the 1-4 participation conditions, as verified by a healthcare practitioner. A healthcare practitioner is defined as any individual provider who is licensed or otherwise authorized by the state, county or city in which the provider is located to provide services related to physical or mental health. If an NMD does not undertake remedial measures to treat a verified medical condition, he or she will still be deemed to have a qualifying medical condition under condition #5.

An NMD is deemed “incapable of doing any of the activities described in 1-4 conditions" if he or she cannot consistently meet the criteria of those conditions due to the documented medical condition.

Verification that aan NMD cannot consistently meet the full requirements of #1-4 conditions can be satisfied by written documentation by a healthcare practitioner which explains that one of the reasons that the non-minor is unable to meet the criteria #1-4 conditions is because he or she has a “medical condition” as defined above.

An NMD who is eligible for a disability program including, but not limited to, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disabled Adult Child benefits, State Disability Insurance, or Regional Center Services may have a medical condition that fits under this participation condition if the medical condition renders him/her incapable of participating in an education plan to complete high school (or equivalent), attend college or vocational school at minimum part-time or maintain part-time employment.

The NMD is deemed eligible for extended benefits under this condition upon a verification of eligibility for such a condition.
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Verification of Condition #5:

Disability Benefits Status

 

Verification of disability benefits status may include:

  • An award letter or
  • Notice of action or copy of the check or benefit identification card.

The non-minor dependent (NMD), unless incapable, is responsible for obtaining and providing the social worker with one of the following:

  • The written verification from a healthcare practitioner stating that the non-minor dependent has a medical condition and that he or she cannot consistently meet the full requirements of conditions #1-4 or
  • The verification of the non-minor dependent’s disability benefits status.

 

If the NMD is incapable of obtaining verification the caregiver or social worker is responsible to assist the non-minor or obtain the verification.
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Other References  
bullet2 OPP Chapter 24-1: Criteria, Definitions, and Forms - Extended Foster Care
bullet2 OPP Chapter 4-3:  Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP)
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