V-9 Extended Care Policy
- L-1, Extension/Termination of Care at Age 18
- Procedures: Extension of Care
- Social Security, Veteran's Administration, and Other Benefits
- L-2, Apartment Living - Leases
A Special Session of the 105th Maine Legislature granted full adult rights to eighteen year olds. As a protection for youth in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, who might need continued care, Title 22, Section 3A was amended to allow the Department to continue to provide for the care and support of young adults when it was determined to be for their benefit and in agreement with Departmental policy.
22 MRSA, Section 3-A reads:
"When a state ward becomes eighteen years of age and he (she) and the Department agree that the need for care and support for educational, social, or physical reasons exists, the Department is authorized to continue care and support of this person to the age of twenty-one years."
Effective June 9, 1972 and thereafter, any youth in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services who reaches age 18 is automatically dismissed from custody and achieves full adult rights and responsibilities. However, the Department of Health and Human Services caseworker* and the youth may negotiate a written agreement (V9) for continued care for the following reasons:
- Obtaining a high school diploma, general equivalency diploma, going on to a post-secondary educational program, or a specialized post-secondary education certification program.
- Participation in an employment skills support program
- Mental health or other counseling support.
- Specialized placement needs.
- Pregnancy and parenting support needs.
- Medical and special health conditions, or needs.
*The definition of "Department of Health and Human Services caseworker" includes Children's Services caseworkers, Child Protective caseworkers, and Adoption caseworkers
States have the option of accessing federal Title IV-E funds for youth continuing in care after age 18. The Department will choose this option for any youth continuing in care after the age of 18. In order for the Department to access Title IV-E federal funding for any youth after age 18, the requirements of a case plan, a review, and a permanency hearing must be met. The review could be an administrative review. Permanency hearings would occur before the court prior to the youth's 18th birthday. It is suggested that the court permanency hearing be scheduled to occur at least one month prior to the youth's 18th birthday. The following conditions apply with regard to Title IV-E eligibility after the age of 18:
- Title IV-E funds are available only until the child reaches the age of 19.
- The 18 year old must be in Departmental care and supervision as evidenced by a signed Voluntary Extended Care (V9) Agreement.
- The 18 year old must be a full time student in a secondary school, or it's equivalent and expecting to graduate prior to their 19th birthday.
- Eligibility for Title IV-E ceases at the end of the month that the child leaves school, or on the day that they become 19 years of age; whichever occurs first.
- No youth in care may be accepted for continuing services after their 18th birthday unless an "Application and Agreement of Responsibility for Continued Care" (V9) has been signed by both the youth and their caseworker prior to age 18. (See "Procedures, Extension of Care" section of this policy for further detail) A copy of this agreement should be maintained in the youth's case record. If the youth is living with a care provider, a copy of the V9 Agreement should be given to the care provider.
- Most youth on the Voluntary Extended Care Agreement (V9) will be expected to participate in a full time secondary or post-secondary educational program approved by the Department of Health and Human Services caseworker and their supervisor. However, some youth who are on the V9 Agreement will not necessarily be required to participate in a full-time secondary or post-secondary educational program. The individual youth's special educational and emotional support needs will be taken into consideration by the caseworker and their supervisor. A decision will then be made by the caseworker and supervisor which sets attainable educational, or employment preparation expectations for the youth.
- Youth in care who are mentally, or physically challenged to the extent that they may not be able to function independently upon their discharge from care should be referred to other state government agencies for continued services in accordance with the interagency agreements in effect between the Department of Health and Human Services and other state government agencies. Planning for this transition should begin at least one year prior to the youth becoming eighteen years of age and will include applying for other sources of possible financial support such as Supplemental Security Income, TANF, Medical Assistance program, and other local resources. These youth may be maintained on the V9 Agreement until an effective transition is made to the appropriate adult support resources.
- The Department is not under any obligation to assume responsibility for any damages incurred by the youth after age 18. This should be made particularly clear to youth who will be owning and operating a motor vehicle. These youth are required by law to carry the required automobile liability insurance.
- The Department will not assume any responsibility for any contracts made by the youth after age 18. (See L-2, Apartment living- Leases)
- The Department will not provide legal counsel for any youth after age 18. The Department's caseworker and their supervisor will be responsible for using discretion in making the decision with regard to whether or not to appear on behalf of the youth in a court proceeding.
- Youth on the V9 Agreement are legally responsible for signing their own "release of information" forms; the Department's caseworker may no longer sign release forms on behalf of the youth.
- If a youth marries while on the V9 Agreement, the V9 Agreement will be terminated effective on the date of the marriage.
- The Youth Transition Program Manager may be consulted if the Department's caseworker and their supervisor have questions relative to the interpretation of physical, social, educational, employment, or other identified needs with regard to the V9 Agreement.