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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.449

Introduced by   Representatives Pugh of S. Burlington, Andrews of Rutland City, Donahue of Northfield, Fisher of Lincoln, Frank of Underhill, French of Randolph, Haas of Rochester, McAllister of Highgate, Mrowicki of Putney and Orr of Charlotte

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Human services; children in need of care and supervision

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to increase from 18 to 21 the maximum age at which a child may receive child welfare services and to provide additional child welfare services.

AN ACT RELATING TO FOSTER CARE SERVICES AND SUPPORTS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  33 V.S.A. § 4902(1) is amended to read:

(1)  Child:  a person an individual under the age of 18 years committed by the juvenile court to the department of prevention, assistance, transition, and health access prior to April 14, 1974 and to the department of social and rehabilitation services thereafter for children and families or an individual under the age of 21 who was formerly committed to the department and chooses to continue receiving services from the department, except that for the purpose of subchapter 1 of chapter 35 of this title, a child is a person under the age of 16 years.

Sec. 2.  33 V.S.A. § 5502(a)(1)(E) is amended to read:

(E)  that an individual shall not be adjudicated a child in need of care and supervision under subdivision (12)(C) of this subsection unless a petition seeking adjudication has been filed prior to the individual becoming sixteen 18 years of age.

Sec. 3.  33 V.S.A. § 4904 is added to read:

§ 4904.  FOSTER CARE; TRANSITIONAL YOUTH SERVICES

(a)  The department shall provide foster care services to any child who elects to continue receiving such services after attaining the age of 18, provided that the child works or attends some kind of educational or vocational program, as defined by rule, and provided that, if the child is working, he or she contributes to the cost of child care services based on a sliding scale defined by rule.

(b)  The commissioner shall establish by rule a process for allowing any child who leaves state custody to receive some level of support services, provided the child voluntarily requests additional support services.

(c)  The commissioner shall establish by rule programs that would provide a child financial assistance for costs related to housing; acquiring a driver’s license and car insurance; and transportation to and from educational facilities in districts other than the district of the foster parents’ residence.   

Sec. 4.  ADDITIONAL YOUTH DEVELOPMENT STAFF

For the purpose of providing continued case management support to any child within the custody of the department for children and families beyond the age of 18, the commissioner for children and families shall expand its youth development staff by 1.5 full-time employees.

* * * Health Care Coverage * * *

Sec. 5.  33 V.S.A. § 1902(c) is added to read:

(c)(1)  The agency of human services shall provide coverage for health services through Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur for:

(A)  an individual 18 years of age or older who is a full-time student in a secondary school or attending an equivalent level of vocational or technical training, and is reasonably expected to complete the educational program before reaching the age of 19 or is not expected to complete the educational program before reaching age 19 solely due to a documented disability;

(B)  an individual up to the age of 21 if the individual:

(i)  is in the custody of the state upon that individual’s 18th birthday;

(ii)  has a developmental disability as defined in section 8722 of Title 18;

(iii)  has mental illness as defined under the agency’s regulations developed for the children’s mental health waiver in effect prior to enactment of the Global Commitment for Health Medicaid Section 1115 Waiver.

(2)  If the individual is enrolled in Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur, the agency shall not require a new application form or application procedure for continuation of coverage after age 18.

Sec. 6.  MEDICAID; TRANSITION BETWEEN PROGRAMS; YOUTH

(a)  The agency of human services or designee shall review a youth’s eligibility for Medicaid, the Vermont Health Access Program, Catamount Health, Catamount Health Assistance, or an employer-sponsored insurance program no later than 60 days prior to the youth’s birthday upon which the youth shall become ineligible due to age to ensure a seamless transition to another health care coverage program.  The agency shall consult with advocacy organizations who represent children’s issues or who represent issues relating to individuals with disabilities on the content of the notices to be sent regarding the eligibility review and transition from Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur to another program when a youth becomes ineligible for coverage due to age.

(b)  The agency shall not impose a co-payment requirement for individuals under 21 years of age enrolled in Medicaid or Dr. Dyansaur.

(c)  Prior to the time a youth is no longer in state custody due to age, the agency shall assist a youth in state custody in applying for health care coverage by completing the application on the youth’s behalf and ensuring that the necessary documentation is provided to ensure the youth is enrolled in any other health care program for which the youth is eligible.

(d)  For youth who are not eligible for Medicaid or Dr. Dynasur due to age, the agency of human services or designee shall adopt or amend rules and procedures pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3 to ensure that a youth age 18 up to 21 living with parents is considered a separate household from the youth’s parents for the purposes of both the parents’ and the youth’s eligibility for Medicaid and the Vermont health access plan.

Sec. 7.  REPORT ON HEALTH CARE COVERAGE

The agency shall provide the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare with a report on the number of youth who successfully transitioned from Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur to another source of health care coverage on the youth’s 21st birthday. The report shall also include the number of youth who became uninsured at age 21 and the reason why the youth was not eligible for Medicaid, the Vermont Health Access Plan, Catamount Health, Catamount Health Assistance, or an employer-sponsored insurance program.


* * * Transitional Services for Youths with Developmental Disabilities * * *

Sec. 8.  STUDY ON TRANSITIONAL SERVICES FOR YOUTHS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

The agency of human services shall study the costs and benefits of providing necessary transitional services up to age 22 for a youth who has been in the custody of the state; has a developmental disability and has been receiving state-funded services or services under an individualized education program (IEP) on the youth’s 18th birthday; or has been receiving state-funded services for severe emotional disturbance on his or her 18th birthday in order to assist the youth in becoming a self-sufficient adult.  The secretary of human services shall report the results of this study to the general assembly not later than January 1, 2008.

* * * Effective Date * * *

Sec. 9.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall become effective upon passage for the purposes of allowing the agency of human services to adopt or amend rules.  Otherwise, the provisions in this act shall be implemented no later than October 1, 2007.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us