This semester my field placement is with the Department of Human Services ACT-91/Re-Entry unit. My primary focus is to assist youth who were in foster care but have been discharged atleast 3 months prior to turning 18 and under the age of 21 re-enter care in an effort to prevent homelessness and provide the youth with services that they are still in need of such as life skills, completing education, job skills and many other skills. I his basic information and was assigned youth who called the hotline requesting Independent Living. My initial phone call with the youth was when I learned about his basic information. The youth reported that he was 17 years old and he would be turning 18 in 3 weeks. He stated that he has to leave his (Adoptive) mother’s home because she is now in a nursing home and she could no longer care for him. The youth stated that he is in school and does ok. I asked the youth did he know at what age was he adopted, in the background I could hear someone stating that he was adopted when he was 5 years old. I informed the youth that I would have to give him a call back after I look into the system to check what his status was to see if he was eligible to re-enter care. I also informed him that if what he was telling me was correct unfortunately he would not be eligible for re-entry. I did let him know that because he is still considered to be a minor at 17 he could enter foster care because basically no one is caring for him at the time and then that would allow him to be eligible for services ad could lead to getting Independent living.
Upon checking the system I found that the information he gave me was in fact true and that he would not be eligible for re-entry and therefore I would not be able to refer him for ACT-91 services, however he would be eligible for other services provided by the Achieving Independent Center (AIC). After conferencing this situation with my supervisor I was advised to call him back and to youth who were in care and was discharged at the let him know that he was not eligible for re-entry because he was not considered to be in foster care because he was adopted at the age of 5 and the requirements for re-entry are specific for youth who were in care and was discharged 3 months prior to their 18th birthdate or anytime after 18 prior to their 21st birthday. I was told to let him know that since he is still 17 years old he is still considered a minor and he could enter into foster care prior to turning 18 and then he would be then eligible as long as he spent atleast 1 day in care prior to his 18th birthday. My supervisor also told me to also give information regarding youth shelters just in case he does not want to enter into care.
When I called the youth to inform him of the information my supervisor told me the youth became very hesitant about entering into care. I did let him know that the adoption subsidy would end once he entered care but because he would be turning 18 in 3 weeks it was going to end anyway. The youth was concerned about the adoption subsidy stopping and he stated he didn’t want to mess that up for his mother. I did my my best to explain that because he would be turning 18 in 3 weeks it is crucial that enter care so that he could be considered eligible for the services that he was initially looking for. Unfortunately the youth did not want to go into care and therefore would not be able to get the services through DHS for Independent living. I gave him resources to the city youth shelters. I felt really bad because the youth is essentially homeless and it really could have been avoided had he went into care prior to turning 18.