Child Welfare Policy Manual

November 26, 2014

3.1B  INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Age

1. Question: Is it correct that there is no minimum age requirement for youths to receive Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) services?

Answer: Yes. It is correct that there is no minimum age requirement for the CFCIP program. The CFCIP legislation gives States broad discretion to define the population of children who are "likely to remain in foster care until age 18."

2. Question: Who must the State serve in the age 18-21 category in independent living services?

Answer: Section 477(b)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act requires States to provide services to youth between ages 18 and 21 who left foster care because they attained 18 years of age. Therefore, States must serve youth between ages 18 and 21 who left foster care because they turned 18 ("aged out" of foster care) and may serve other former foster care youth who did not "age-out" of foster care.

3. Question: At what age do independent living services have to be provided to foster care youth?

Answer: Pursuant to section 475 of the Social Security Act, the State is required to develop and implement a case plan that, for children age 16 and older, identifies those programs and services that will be provided to assist the youth in transitioning from foster care to independence. The Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) is a funding resource for independent living programs and services, with no lower age limit requirements, and is available for youth who meet the State's eligibility requirements for CFCIP. However, the requirements at Section 475 of the Act must be met even for those youth who are not eligible for CFCIP.

  • Source/Date: 7/25/02
  • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 475(1)(B) and (1)(D), section 477