Youth in foster care are eligible for an array of benefits and resources all aimed at supporting them in having a normal teenage experience and preparing them to successfully transition into adulthood.
Youth in their senior year of high school are eligible for $650 to assist with the cost of senior expenses such as their prom experience, senior dues, cap and gown, class ring, official senior trip etc. Youth should budget this money accordingly as once the funds are exhausted, they are gone! Youth and their caregivers should maintain all their receipts and present them when requesting reimbursement. Youth should also consider getting a summer job or setting aside some of their allowance to ensure they have enough funds to fully enjoy their senior year.
Independent Living Curriculum
Youth in state’s care between the ages of 16-21, are eligible to complete the Independent Living Curriculum. The Curriculum explores such topics as:
Youth who complete the curriculum are eligible for a $250 gift card. For more information, contact your Regional Independent Living Specialist.
State Identification Card
All youth in state’s care 16 and over, are encouraged to have a state issued identification card. Youth will need to obtain their certified birth certificate and original social security card as well as a Verification Letter from their social worker prior to heading to the Circuit Clerk’s Office.
Youth in state’s care are entitled to a certified birth certificate. To obtain a certificate, the youth should contact their social worker.
Youth in state’s care 16-21 years old are encouraged to complete a driver’s education program. As funds allow, DCBS will reimburse for the cost of youth completing a program, up to $500. For more information, contact your Regional Independent Living Specialist.
Learner’s Permit and Driver’s License
Youth in state’s care 16-21 years old are encouraged to complete a driver’s education program. Youth in state’s care are eligible to apply for their learner’s permit and driver’s license. Youth between the ages of 16 and 17 years old must first attend a Readiness to Drive meeting with their regional Independent Living Specialist and receive a Verification Letter to take to the DMV. Youth’s caregiver or another adult, must be willing sign their application for a permit at the DMV. Their social worker is not allowed to sign the application.
As funds allow, DCBS will reimburse caregivers for the cost of adding foster youth between the ages of 16 and 17 years old, to their car insurance plan. Youth must have had the required Readiness to Drive meeting to be eligible. As funds allow, DCBS will also reimburse a foster parent, up to $1000, for the cost of their deductible, in the event the youth causes damages to their vehicle while driving.
Youth Development Funds
Youth in state’s care between the ages of 16-21 are eligible for funds to support participation in extracurricular and enrichment activities. Eligible activities include team sports, school groups, tutoring, GED preparatory courses, college orientation fees, a bicycle and other activities/items that support a normal teenage experience and assist the youth in transitioning successfully to adulthood. These funds should only be requested when other funding sources have been explored and exhausted. To apply, complete the application below and submit to your Regional Independent Living Specialist.
Youth turning 18 in state’s care are eligible to request to remain in care until their 21st birthday to receive transitional living support. This support includes housing, assistance with daily needs as well as case management. This support allows youth to focus on their vocational and academic goals while receiving the guidance and support they to become stable, self-sufficient adults. Youth on extended commitment must:
Youth on extended commitment must also follow all the rules of their placement and refrain from criminal activity. Youth who fail to meet these minimal requirements will be placed on a Probation Contract. Youth who fail to comply with the stipulations outlined in the contract, may be exited from care. Youth over 18 may also choose to end their commitment at any time. Youth on extended commitment may live in a variety of settings including a foster home, pre-independent living program, college campus or scattered site apartment program. The youth’s social worker will determine the most appropriate placement based upon the needs of the youth.
Independent Living/Scattered Apartment Programs
Youth often mistakenly believe they will automatically get their own apartment when they turn 18 if they extend commitment. This is not the case. There are many factors the social worker will consider when determining whether a youth is appropriate for independent living including:
A youth with any of the issues above may be more appropriate and successful in a foster home or pre-independent living program. Youth who want to focus on their college education and immerse themselves in the college experience may be more successful on a college campus. Youth who need more guidance or enjoy living in a family setting may be more appropriate for a foster home. Youth who live in these settings may always transition later, if appropriate, to an independent living program.
Youth in state’s care are eligible for The Tuition Waiver for Foster and Adopted Children which waives the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at all of Kentucky’s public (4 year) universities as well as the community and technical colleges across the state (KCTCS). Once utilized, the waiver is good for 5 years.
Eligible youth must:
To apply, youth should complete Section I of the Tuition Waiver and return the form to the college’s financial aid office. The Waiver should be completed at least 6 weeks prior to the start of classes.
Youth in state’s care are eligible to receive assistance with expenses necessary to complete a post-secondary educational or vocational program not covered by the Tuition Waiver or Financial aid such as the Pell Grant, KEES, scholarships, etc. Youth requesting assistance must have completed their FAFSA Form. Youth requesting assistance with expenses associated with attending a private college must show the program is not offered through one of Kentucky’s public colleges or universities. Youth must also show they have explored other available community resources prior to requesting assistance. Eligible expenses includes dorm, books, supplies, tuition for a vocational, trade program etc. The request for assistance must be made at least 6-8 weeks prior to the start of classes. For more information, contact your Regional Independent Living Specialist.
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