U.S Code last checked for updates: Jun 18, 2024
§ 677.
John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood
(a)
Purpose
The purpose of this section is to provide States with flexible funding that will enable programs to be designed and conducted—
(1)
to support all youth who have experienced foster care at age 14 or older in their transition to adulthood through transitional services such as assistance in obtaining a high school diploma and post-secondary education, career exploration, vocational training, job placement and retention, training and opportunities to practice daily living skills (such as financial literacy training and driving instruction), substance abuse prevention, and preventive health activities (including smoking avoidance, nutrition education, and pregnancy prevention);
(2)
to help children who have experienced foster care at age 14 or older achieve meaningful, permanent connections with a caring adult;
(3)
to help children who have experienced foster care at age 14 or older engage in age or developmentally appropriate activities, positive youth development, and experiential learning that reflects what their peers in intact families experience;
(4)
to provide financial, housing, counseling, employment, education, and other appropriate support and services to former foster care recipients between 18 and 21 years of age (or 23 years of age, in the case of a State with a certification under subsection (b)(3)(A)(ii) to provide assistance and services to youths who have aged out of foster care and have not attained such age, in accordance with such subsection) to complement their own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and to assure that program participants recognize and accept their personal responsibility for preparing for and then making the transition from adolescence to adulthood;
(5)
to make available vouchers for education and training, including postsecondary training and education, to youths who have aged out of foster care;
(6)
to provide the services referred to in this subsection to children who, after attaining 16 years of age, have left foster care for kinship guardianship or adoption; and
(7)
to ensure children who are likely to remain in foster care until 18 years of age have regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age or developmentally-appropriate activities as defined in section 675(11) of this title.
(b)
Applications
(1)
In general
(2)
State plan
A plan meets the requirements of this paragraph if the plan specifies which State agency or agencies will administer, supervise, or oversee the programs carried out under the plan, and describes how the State intends to do the following:
(A)
Design and deliver programs to achieve the purposes of this section.
(B)
Ensure that all political subdivisions in the State are served by the program, though not necessarily in a uniform manner.
(C)
Ensure that the programs serve children of various ages and at various stages of achieving independence.
(D)
Involve the public and private sectors in helping youth in foster care achieve independence.
(E)
Use objective criteria for determining eligibility for benefits and services under the programs, and for ensuring fair and equitable treatment of benefit recipients.
(F)
Cooperate in national evaluations of the effects of the programs in achieving the purposes of this section.
(3)
Certifications
The certifications required by this paragraph with respect to a plan are the following:
(A)
(i)
A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that the State will provide assistance and services to youths who have aged out of foster care and have not attained 21 years of age.
(ii)
If the State has elected under section 675(8)(B) of this title to extend eligibility for foster care to all children who have not attained 21 years of age, or if the Secretary determines that the State agency responsible for administering the State plans under this part and part B uses State funds or any other funds not provided under this part to provide services and assistance for youths who have aged out of foster care that are comparable to the services and assistance the youths would receive if the State had made such an election, the certification required under clause (i) may provide that the State will provide assistance and services to youths who have aged out of foster care and have not attained 23 years of age.
(B)
A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that not more than 30 percent of the amounts paid to the State from its allotment under subsection (c) for a fiscal year will be expended for room or board for youths who have aged out of foster care and have not attained 21 years of age (or 23 years of age, in the case of a State with a certification under subparagraph (A)(i) to provide assistance and services to youths who have aged out of foster care and have not attained such age, in accordance with subparagraph (A)(ii)).
(C)
A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that none of the amounts paid to the State from its allotment under subsection (c) will be expended for room or board for any child who has not attained 18 years of age.
(D)
A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that the State will use training funds provided under the program of Federal payments for foster care and adoption assistance to provide training including training on youth development to help foster parents, adoptive parents, workers in group homes, and case managers understand and address the issues confronting youth preparing for a successful transition to adulthood and making a permanent connection with a caring adult.
(E)
A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that the State has consulted widely with public and private organizations in developing the plan and that the State has given all interested members of the public at least 30 days to submit comments on the plan.
(F)
A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that the State will make every effort to coordinate the State programs receiving funds provided from an allotment made to the State under subsection (c) with other Federal and State programs for youth (especially transitional living youth projects funded under part B of title III of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 [34 U.S.C. 11221 et seq.]), abstinence education programs, local housing programs, programs for disabled youth (especially sheltered workshops), and school-to-work programs offered by high schools or local workforce agencies.
(G)
A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that each Indian tribe in the State has been consulted about the programs to be carried out under the plan; that there have been efforts to coordinate the programs with such tribes; that benefits and services under the programs will be made available to Indian children in the State on the same basis as to other children in the State; and that the State will negotiate in good faith with any Indian tribe, tribal organization, or tribal consortium in the State that does not receive an allotment under subsection (j)(4) for a fiscal year and that requests to develop an agreement with the State to administer, supervise, or oversee the programs to be carried out under the plan with respect to the Indian children who are eligible for such programs and who are under the authority of the tribe, organization, or consortium and to receive from the State an appropriate portion of the State allotment under subsection (c) for the cost of such administration, supervision, or oversight.
(H)
A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that the State will ensure that youth participating in the program under this section participate directly in designing their own program activities that prepare them for independent living and that the youth accept personal responsibility for living up to their part of the program.
(I)
A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that the State has established and will enforce standards and procedures to prevent fraud and abuse in the programs carried out under the plan.
(J)
A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that the State educational and training voucher program under this section is in compliance with the conditions specified in subsection (i), including a statement describing methods the State will use—
(i)
to ensure that the total amount of educational assistance to a youth under this section and under other Federal and Federally supported programs does not exceed the limitation specified in subsection (i)(5); and
(ii)
to avoid duplication of benefits under this and any other Federal or Federally assisted benefit program.
(K)
A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that the State will ensure that a youth participating in the program under this section are 1
1
 So in original. Probably should be “is”.
provided with education about the importance of designating another individual to make health care treatment decisions on behalf of the youth if the youth becomes unable to participate in such decisions and the youth does not have, or does not want, a relative who would otherwise be authorized under State law to make such decisions, whether a health care power of attorney, health care proxy, or other similar document is recognized under State law, and how to execute such a document if the youth wants to do so.
(4)
Approval
The Secretary shall approve an application submitted by a State pursuant to paragraph (1) for a period if—
(A)
the application is submitted on or before June 30 of the calendar year in which such period begins; and
(B)
the Secretary finds that the application contains the material required by paragraph (1).
(5)
Authority to implement certain amendments; notification
(6)
Availability
(c)
Allotments to States
(1)
General program allotment
(2)
Hold harmless provision
(A)
In general
(B)
Ratable reduction of certain allotments
(3)
Voucher program allotment
(4)
State foster care ratio
(d)
Use of funds
(1)
In general
(2)
No supplantation of other funds available for same general purposes
(3)
Two-year availability of funds
(4)
Reallocation of unused funds
(5)
Redistribution of unexpended amounts
(A)
Availability of amounts
(B)
Redistribution
(i)
In general
(ii)
Amount to be redistributed
(iii)
Treatment of redistributed amount
(C)
Tribes
(e)
Penalties
(1)
Use of grant in violation of this part
(2)
Failure to comply with data reporting requirement
(3)
Penalties based on degree of noncompliance
(f)
Data collection and performance measurement
(1)
In general
The Secretary, in consultation with State and local public officials responsible for administering independent living and other child welfare programs, child welfare advocates, Members of Congress, youth service providers, and researchers, shall—
(A)
develop outcome measures (including measures of educational attainment, high school diploma, employment, avoidance of dependency, homelessness, nonmarital childbirth, incarceration, and high-risk behaviors) that can be used to assess the performance of States in operating independent living programs;
(B)
identify data elements needed to track—
(i)
the number and characteristics of children receiving services under this section;
(ii)
the type and quantity of services being provided; and
(iii)
State performance on the outcome measures; and
(C)
develop and implement a plan to collect the needed information beginning with the second fiscal year beginning after December 14, 1999.
(2)
Report to Congress
Not later than October 1, 2019, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate a report on the National Youth in Transition Database and any other databases in which States report outcome measures relating to children in foster care and children who have aged out of foster care or left foster care for kinship guardianship or adoption. The report shall include the following:
(A)
A description of the reasons for entry into foster care and of the foster care experiences, such as length of stay, number of placement settings, case goal, and discharge reason of 17-year-olds who are surveyed by the National Youth in Transition Database and an analysis of the comparison of that description with the reasons for entry and foster care experiences of children of other ages who exit from foster care before attaining age 17.
(B)
A description of the characteristics of the individuals who report poor outcomes at ages 19 and 21 to the National Youth in Transition Database.
(C)
Benchmarks for determining what constitutes a poor outcome for youth who remain in or have exited from foster care and plans the executive branch will take to incorporate these benchmarks in efforts to evaluate child welfare agency performance in providing services to children transitioning from foster care.
(D)
An analysis of the association between types of placement, number of overall placements, time spent in foster care, and other factors, and outcomes at ages 19 and 21.
(E)
An analysis of the differences in outcomes for children in and formerly in foster care at age 19 and 21 among States.
(g)
Evaluations
(1)
In general
(2)
Funding of evaluations
(h)
Limitations on authorization of appropriations
To carry out this section and for payments to States under section 674(a)(4) of this title, there are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each fiscal year—
(1)
$140,000,000 or, beginning in fiscal year 2020, $143,000,000, which shall be available for all purposes under this section; and
(2)
an additional $60,000,000, which are authorized to be available for payments to States for education and training vouchers for youths who age out of foster care, to assist the youths to develop skills necessary to lead independent and productive lives.
(i)
Educational and training vouchers
The following conditions shall apply to a State educational and training voucher program under this section:
(1)
Vouchers under the program may be available to youths otherwise eligible for services under the State program under this section who have attained 14 years of age.
(2)
For purposes of the voucher program, youths who, after attaining 16 years of age, are adopted from, or enter kinship guardianship from, foster care may be considered to be youths otherwise eligible for services under the State program under this section.
(3)
The State may allow youths participating in the voucher program to remain eligible until they attain 26 years of age, as long as they are enrolled in a postsecondary education or training program and are making satisfactory progress toward completion of that program, but in no event may a youth participate in the program for more than 5 years (whether or not consecutive).
(4)
The voucher or vouchers provided for an individual under this section—
(A)
may be available for the cost of attendance at an institution of higher education, as defined in section 1002 of title 20; and
(B)
shall not exceed the lesser of $5,000 per year or the total cost of attendance, as defined in section 1087ll of title 20.
(5)
The amount of a voucher under this section may be disregarded for purposes of determining the recipient’s eligibility for, or the amount of, any other Federal or Federally supported assistance, except that the total amount of educational assistance to a youth under this section and under other Federal and Federally supported programs shall not exceed the total cost of attendance, as defined in section 1087ll of title 20, and except that the State agency shall take appropriate steps to prevent duplication of benefits under this and other Federal or Federally supported programs.
(6)
The program is coordinated with other appropriate education and training programs.
(j)
Authority for an Indian tribe, tribal organization, or tribal consortium to receive an allotment
(1)
In general
(2)
Application
A tribe, organization, or consortium desiring an allotment under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall submit an application to the Secretary to directly receive such allotment that includes a plan which—
(A)
satisfies such requirements of paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (b) as the Secretary determines are appropriate;
(B)
contains a description of the tribe’s, organization’s, or consortium’s consultation process regarding the programs to be carried out under the plan with each State for which a portion of an allotment under subsection (c) would be redirected to the tribe, organization, or consortium; and
(C)
contains an explanation of the results of such consultation, particularly with respect to—
(i)
determining the eligibility for benefits and services of Indian children to be served under the programs to be carried out under the plan; and
(ii)
the process for consulting with the State in order to ensure the continuity of benefits and services for such children who will transition from receiving benefits and services under programs carried out under a State plan under subsection (b)(2) to receiving benefits and services under programs carried out under a plan under this subsection.
(3)
Payments
(4)
Allotment
(5)
Tribal foster care ratio
For purposes of paragraph (4), the tribal foster care ratio means, with respect to an Indian tribe, tribal organization, or tribal consortium, the ratio of—
(A)
the number of children in foster care under the responsibility of the Indian tribe, tribal organization, or tribal consortium (either directly or under supervision of the State), in the most recent fiscal year for which the information is available; to
(B)
the sum of—
(i)
the total number of children in foster care under the responsibility of the State within which the Indian tribe, tribal organization, or tribal consortium is located; and
(ii)
the total number of children in foster care under the responsibility of all Indian tribes, tribal organizations, or tribal consortia in the State (either directly or under supervision of the State) that have a plan approved under this subsection.
(Aug. 14, 1935, ch. 531, title IV, § 477, as added Pub. L. 99–272, title XII, § 12307(a), Apr. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 294; amended Pub. L. 100–647, title VIII, § 8104(a)–(d), (f), Nov. 10, 1988, 102 Stat. 3796, 3797; Pub. L. 101–239, title VIII, § 8002(a), (b), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2452; Pub. L. 101–508, title V, § 5073(a), Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1388–233; Pub. L. 103–66, title XIII, § 13714(a), Aug. 10, 1993, 107 Stat. 657; Pub. L. 105–89, title III, § 304, Nov. 19, 1997, 111 Stat. 2130; Pub. L. 106–169, title I, § 101(b), Dec. 14, 1999, 113 Stat. 1824; Pub. L. 107–133, title II, §§ 201(a)–(e), 202(a), Jan. 17, 2002, 115 Stat. 2422, 2423, 2425; Pub. L. 110–351, title I, § 101(e), title III, § 301(b), (c)(1)(B), Oct. 7, 2008, 122 Stat. 3953, 3967, 3969; Pub. L. 111–148, title II, § 2955(b), Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 352; Pub. L. 113–183, title I, § 111(c), Sept. 29, 2014, 128 Stat. 1925; Pub. L. 115–123, div. E, title VII, § 50753(a)–(d), Feb. 9, 2018, 132 Stat. 263–265.)
cite as: 42 USC 677