|BILL AS PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE||2007-2008|
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. § 4901 is amended to read:
§ 4901. STATEMENT OF PURPOSES
The department may cooperate with the appropriate federal agency for the purpose of establishing, extending, and strengthening services which supplement or substitute for parental care and supervision including:
(1) Preventing, remedying, or assisting in the solution of problems which may result in neglect, abuse, exploitation, or delinquency of children.
(2) Protecting and caring for homeless, dependent or neglected children.
(3) Protecting and promoting the welfare of children of working parents.
(4) Otherwise protecting and promoting the welfare of children, including the strengthening of their homes where possible or, where needed, providing adequate care away from their homes in child-care facilities.
(5) Assisting youth in a successful transition to an independent adulthood, including the avoidance of homelessness, incarceration, and substance abuse.
Sec. 2. 33 V.S.A. § 4904 is added to read:
§ 4904. FOSTER CARE; TRANSITIONAL YOUTH SERVICES
(a) For purposes of this section, “youth” means a person between 18 and 22 years of age who either:
(1) attained his or her 18th birthday while in the custody of the commissioner for children and families; or
(2) while he or she was between 10 and 18 years of age, spent at least five of those years in the custody of the commissioner for children and families.
(b)(1) The department shall provide foster care services as described in subsection (c) of this section to:
(A) any youth who elects to continue receiving such services after attaining the age of 18.
(B) any individual under the age of 22 who leaves state custody after the age of 16 and at or before the age of 18 or any youth provided he or she voluntarily requests additional support services.
(2) The department shall require a youth receiving services under this section to be employed or to attend an educational or vocational program, and, if the youth is working, require that he or she contribute to the cost of services based on a sliding scale, unless the youth meets the criteria for an exception to the employment and educational or vocational program requirements of this section based on a disability or other good cause. The department shall establish rules for the requirements and exceptions under this subdivision.
(c) The commissioner shall establish by rule a program to provide a range of age-appropriate services for youth to ensure a successful transition to adulthood, including foster care and other services provided under this chapter to children as appropriate, housing assistance, transportation, case management services, assistance with obtaining and retaining health insurance or employment, and other services.
(d) The commissioner shall establish a method for measuring, evaluating, and reporting the outcomes of transitional services provided under this section to the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare annually on January 15.
Sec. 3. 33 V.S.A. § 1901(f) is added to read:
(f) The secretary shall not impose a prescription co-payment for individuals under age 21 enrolled in Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur.
Sec. 4. STUDY ON TRANSITIONAL SERVICES FOR YOUTHS
The secretary of administration, in consultation with the secretary of human services, the commissioner of labor, the commissioner of disabilities, aging, and independent living, the commissioner of corrections, the commissioner for children and families, and the commissioner of education, shall study the costs and benefits of providing necessary transitional services up to age 22 for a youth who has a functional developmental disability and has been receiving state-funded services or services under an individualized education program (IEP) on or before the youth’s 18th birthday; or has been receiving state-funded services for severe emotional disturbance on or before his or her 18th birthday; in order to assist the youth in becoming a self-sufficient adult. The secretary of administration shall solicit and summarize in his or her final report input from consumers, providers, and representatives of disability organizations, including the Vermont federation of families for mental health, the Vermont coalition of disability rights, the Vermont council of developmental and mental health services, and the Vermont developmental disabilities council. The secretary of administration shall report the results of this study to the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare not later than November 30, 2007.
Sec. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE
This act shall take effect upon passage.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street