February 6, 2019
We recently heard from stakeholders about revisions to WAC 110-90-0040 that addresses who is eligible for Extended Foster Care (EFC) including eligibility for dependent youth who are in a Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) Institution. We understand that there was some confusion regarding the proposed language which was intended to clarify eligibility. We will be making revisions to better explain our intention. However, keep in mind that the way the system functions now will change when JR is moved to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF).
In the past, for a dependent youth in a JR institution to be eligible for EFC, they had to be moved to a community facility before their 18th birthday. The youth would then be returned to the institution after their 18th birthday with the ability to enroll in EFC upon release if they so choose. If a dependent youth was in a JR institution on their 18th birthday, they were permanently ineligible for EFC due to Washington state law.
As a result of new legislation in 2018 dependent youth who turn 18 in a JR institution are eligible for EFC upon release. We are working to establish new processes to provide support and coordinated entry into EFC upon a dependent youth’s release from a JR institution.
This new process will be incorporated into policy and procedure rather than designated as a rule. DCYF plans to leave the emergency Washington Administrative Code (WAC) as is and make clarifying changes to the permanent WAC. This process will include stakeholder feedback to both the WAC and policy.
Dependent youth who are incarcerated in JR beyond their 18th birthday, will have their dependency dismissed when they turn 18 years old. Sixty days prior to discharge JR will engage DCYF child welfare to participate in a Re-entry Team Meeting (RTM) and assist with transition planning and identification of resources. Once discharged, the youth could choose to sign the EFC Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA), allowing them to be in a foster care placement and receive services. If a youth chooses not to participate in EFC, DCYF has no further legal involvement unless the youth makes a request to enroll in EFC prior to their 21st birthday.
Moving forward you will see a more seamless process for rolling out new policy and rules. In the future, these rules will be published to our www.dcyf.wa.gov website in advance of implementation to allow time for public comment.
Should you have questions or concerns, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.