THE JOHN H. CHAFEE PROGRAM
FOSTER CARE INDEPENDENCE ACT
The Foster Care Independence Act was originally signed into law 12/14/99 (PL 106-169).
The John H. Chafee Program was created in 1999 with passage the Foster Care Independence Act. This program provides services to both youth in foster care who are preparing to transition to adulthood and youth 18-21 who have already left foster care and need assistance.
The centerpiece of the legislation is the establishment of the John H. Chafee Independent Living Program. Senator Chafee, an outstanding champion for children and original sponsor of the bill, spearheaded the effort to win Congressional approval. The Senator passed away shortly after moving the bill forward. The Chafee Program replaces the Title IVE Independent Living Program.
Statutory language best summarizes the purpose of the Act:
Under the Act:
- Title IVE entitlement for independent living activities is doubled to $140 million, with a 20% state match;
- Services, and room and board, can be made available to young people who left foster care because they turned 18;
- Young people with assets up to $10,000 are still eligible for IVE;
- States are able to expand Medicaid coverage for young people 18 – 21;
- Young people must be involved in the design of their plan to achieve self-sufficiency.
States will be required to submit a five-year plan to implement the Chafee Independent Program, addressing services to foster care youth at various stages and ages. The state plan should be developed with participation from representatives of public and private organizations, Indian tribes and young people served by independent living activities.
A list of the state coordinators for independent living can be found at http://www.NRCYS.ou.edu, then click on National Resource Center for Youth Development. Full text of the Foster Care Independence Act can be found at http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/publaw/106publ.html. Scroll down to Pub.L. 106-169 (H.R. 3443). Frequently Asked Questions, a thorough written review of the Act prepared by the National Foster Care Awareness Project, can be viewed online at http://www.connectforkids.com.
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