Thanks to state legislation called Fostering Connections to Success (AB 12), foster youth in California may now receive support from age 18 through 21. The law, which took effect in January 2012, provides ongoing benefits for young adults completing a high school or college education, gaining work experience and pursuing life goals.

Foster youth who choose extended care may be able to remain with their foster families, live with a legal guardian, share housing with other young adults, or qualify for supervised independent living.

To qualify for extended care, foster youth must meet ONE of the following requirements:

  • Enrolled in high school, or a high school equivalent program.
  • Enrolled at least half-time in college, community college or a vocational program.
  • Employed at least 80 hours per month.
  • Participating in a program or activity designed to promote employment, or to remove barriers to employment.

However, foster youth unable to fulfill the above requirements because of a medical condition may also be eligible for extended care services.

Participants are also required to create a Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP), outlining their educational and professional goals. Participants must meet regularly with social workers, and attend court hearings every six months, to review their plan and monitor their progress.

Extended care is a choice. Youth who choose not to stay in extended care, but later change their minds, may re-enroll. Participants may choose to leave extended care at any time.

To learn more about extended foster care, contact your social worker, probation officer or attorney, or go to www.fosteringconnections.org/california.