Code Section

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC

DIVISION 9. PUBLIC SOCIAL SERVICES [10000 - 18996]

  ( Division 9 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1784. )
  

PART 3. AID AND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE [11000 - 15766]

  ( Part 3 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1784. )
  

CHAPTER 2. California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Act [11200 - 11526.5]

  ( Heading of Chapter 2 amended by Stats. 1997, Ch. 270, Sec. 49. )
  

ARTICLE 5. Aid to Families With Dependent Children—Foster Care [11400 - 11410]
  ( Heading of Article 5 amended by Stats. 1980, Ch. 1166, Sec. 7. )

  
11403.1.  

(a) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that former foster youth are a vulnerable population at risk of homelessness, unemployment, welfare dependency, incarceration, and other adverse outcomes if they exit the foster care system unprepared to become self-sufficient. Unlike many young individuals 18 years of age who can depend on family for ongoing support while they complete postsecondary education or develop career opportunities, emancipating foster youth have their primary source of support, AFDC-Foster Care payments, terminated at 18 years of age and are then dependent on their own resources for self-support. Some foster youth are not able to complete high school or other education or training programs due to ongoing trauma from the parental abuse or neglect and gaps in their educational attainment stemming from the original removal and subsequent changes in placement.

(2) Completion of an educational or training program is an essential, minimum skill needed by foster youth in order to be competitive in today’s economy.

(3) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to create, for counties that opt to participate, the Supportive Transitional Emancipation Program (STEP) in which emancipated foster youth may receive support while participating in an educational or training program, or any activity consistent with their transitional independent living plan up to 21 years of age.

(b) Should a county elect to provide this program, a person who meets all of the following conditions shall be considered eligible for this program:

(1) The person either was in foster care and emancipated upon reaching the age limitations specified in Section 11401 or received aid pursuant to Kin-GAP under Article 4.5 (commencing with Section 11360) and emancipated upon reaching the age limitations specified in Section 11363.

(2) The person is participating in an educational or training program, or any activity consistent with his or her transitional independent living plan.

(3) The person is under 21 years of age.

(4) The person has emancipated from a county that is participating in the STEP program.

(c) Aid under this section may be provided pursuant to a transitional independent living plan mutually agreed upon by the emancipated foster youth and the county welfare or probation department or independent living program coordinator. The youth participating in STEP has the responsibility to inform the county of changes to the conditions in the agreed-upon plan that affect payment of aid, including changes in address, living circumstances, and the educational or training program.

(d) For purposes of this section, “emancipated foster youth” means a person who meets the eligibility criteria in subdivision (b).

(e) (1) In determining the amount of aid under this section, the rate provided to the youth shall be equivalent to the basic rate provided to a foster family home provider pursuant to Section 11461.

(2) If the emancipated youth remains in placement, payment shall be made to the care provider, including a Transitional Housing Program-Plus provider, at a rate equivalent to the basic rate provided to a foster family home provider pursuant to Section 11461.

(f) Unless otherwise provided by federal law, receipt of aid under this section shall not be considered income either for purposes of eligibility for services provided in other federal or state programs, or for grants that may be provided by an institution of higher education, including, but not limited to, Cal Grants or other grants or fee waivers.

(g) (1) Aid under this section shall be provided to eligible youth who have emancipated from a county that elects to participate under this section.

(2) Each participating county welfare department shall notify all foster youth in that county, including those receiving Kin-GAP, ages 16 to 19 years, inclusive, of the existence of the program prescribed by this section.

(h) The department shall seek any federal funds available for implementation of this section, including, but not limited to, funds available under Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 601 et seq.). Implementation of this section shall not, however, be contingent upon receipt of any federal funding. The department shall seek any waiver from the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that is necessary to implement this section.

(i) Beginning in the 2011–12 fiscal year, and for each fiscal year thereafter, funding and expenditures for programs and activities under this section shall be in accordance with the requirements provided in Sections 30025 and 30026.5 of the Government Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 84. Effective June 27, 2012.)