Foster Care Independence Act Law and Legal Definition
The Foster Care Independence Act (“Act”) is a federal legislation enacted in 1999 to offer help and protection to former foster children. The Act acts as a catalyst in broadening reforms relating to young children.
The primary purpose of the Act is to reform and expand the Independent Living Program which is authorized under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. The Independent Living program is designed to help children in foster care. It prepares children in foster care to become independent once they transition out of foster care when they turn 18. The Act expands the scope of "independent living" by eliminating the minimum age of 16 to provide protection, and offering support for young people up to 21 years of age.
Title I of the Act establishes the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (“Program”). This Program is geared towards helping the current and former foster care youths in becoming self-sufficient. The Program provides:
Funds for young people between 18 to 21 years of age who are leaving foster care. The Fund is provided to support their independent living activities.
Emphasizes the importance of securing permanent families for young people in foster care.
Broadens the opportunity for states to offer medicaid to young people transitioning from foster care.
Makes states more accountable for the outcome of young people transitioning from foster care.