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About the Fostering Connections to Success and Increased Adoptions Act of 2008 law (Public Law 110-351)

The new Fostering Connections law made major improvements to programs and policies related to older youth in foster care. Some parts of the new law require that states make changes, while some parts of the law offers options for states to consider adding to their foster care programs. Specifically, Fostering Connections provides new supports and services to promote permanency and the improved wellbeing of older youth in foster care. These include foster care, adoption, or guardianship assistance payments to children after the age of 18; a requirement that personal transition plans for youth aging out are developed within 90 days prior to youth exiting foster care; extending eligibility for Independent Living Program services to children adopted or placed in kinship guardianship at age 16 or older; and extending eligibility for education and training vouchers to children who exit foster care to kinship guardianship at age 16 or older (those adopted after age 16 were already eligible).

For those who want to know eaxactly what the new law has to say regarding transition plans for older youth, here you go: Section 475(5) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 675) now reads in part: "during the 90-day period immediately prior to the date on which the child will attain 18 years of age, or such greater age as the State may elect under paragraph (8)(B)(iii), whether during that period foster care maintenance payments are being made on the child’s behalf or the child is receiving benefits or services under section 477, a caseworker on the staff of the State agency, and, as appropriate, other representatives of the child provide the child with assistance and support in developing a transition plan that is personalized at the direction of the child, includes specific options on housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services, and work force supports and employment services, and is as detailed as the child may elect."

For more information about the Fostering Connections law, visit The Fostering Connections Resource Center at www.fosteringconnections.org. The Resource Center serves as a library of child welfare information and resources to help states and tribes in their efforts to implement Fostering Connections.

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Jun 7, 2010 By Celeste