House Bill 271

151st General Assembly (Present)

Bill Progress

Signed 5/3/22
Becomes effective upon date of signature of the Governor or upon date specified

Bill Details

1/6/22
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 13 AND 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES FOR YOUNG ADULTS AGING OUT OF FOSTER CARE.
The Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) is charged with providing transitional and independent living services for youth ages 14 to 21. The Division of Family Services (DFS) contracts for case management services for youth ages 16 to 21, with services designed to promote self-sufficiency and responsible living for young adults who are aging out of foster care. Participants receive life skills training and personal development, mentoring, tuition assistance, and support with transitional housing. Participants may also qualify to receive needs-based stipends through ASSIST (Achieving Self Sufficiency & Independence through Supported Transition) to help with living expenses. DFS recently changed the name of the Independent Living Program to the “Transitional and Independent Living Program” to better reflect the comprehensive nature of services offered to youth. This bill updates references to the program to include “transitional” and independent living services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government provided additional funding to support young adults who were eligible for independent living services until age 27. The intent was to provide additional support for youth and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on their housing and employment status. DFS exercised this additional funding authority via a mandatory directive from the DFS Director. While the mandatory directive provision expanding services expired in October 2021, DFS decided it would continue providing independent living services for youth until age 23 because of the success observed on behalf of youth. This mandatory directive provision will expire in September 2022, and this bill will grant DFS the statutory authority to continue providing transitional and independent living services for youth until age 23. Expanding independent and transitional living services from age 21 to age 23 better aligns with case management requirements of housing assistance programs, will support youth with transitioning from post-secondary education programs into the workforce, and will help maintain a longer connection to youth required to complete federal reporting for DFS.
83:300
35
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5/3/22
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