Independent Living Aftercare Services are additional resources designed to support former foster care youth ages 18 to 21 years old in their effort to achieve self-sufficiency. These services are divided into two types: Independent Living Aftercare Services and Enhanced Aftercare Services. The purpose of both aftercare services are to provide youth with:
- Financial assistance to purchase goods and services
- Temporary assistance with room, board, and utilities
- Employment assistance
- Medical assistance
- Youth who are 18 – 21 years old who have exited out-of-home placement by adoption, relative guardianship after their 16th birthday, or any related exit situation
- Youth who need continued help in making the transition to self-sufficiency
- Youth who participate in or sign the Independent Living Aftercare Services agreement’s terms
Independent Living Aftercare Services
Visit your local department of social services in the county you currently live in and complete an application for services. Youth must provide proof of age and vital records.
- After the local department verifies that you meet all the requirements, a caseworker will contact you within 5 business days of your application submission to provide an update on the status of your application. The caseworker will schedule a meeting with you within 10 business days of submission to conduct an assessment to determine which type of aftercare service is best for you and how to connect you to that service or other community services.
- Once your caseworker has processed your assessment, you and the caseworker will create an independent living service agreement. The agreement will list the services your caseworker has chosen for you based on your assessment and what services you agree to participate in based on your application. Aftercare services are designed to last up to 180 days however, services may be extended if needed. Service can not extend past your 21st birthday.
Who Can Participate in Enhanced Aftercare Services?
- Youth must not leave foster care due to reunification, adoption, guardianship, marriage, military duty (youth also may not be in the process of entering into one of these choices within 30 days before applying for services).
Youth in the process of completing secondary education, vocational training, or a program leading to an equivalent credential
Enrolled in an institution which provides postsecondary education or vocational training
Youth participating in a program or activity that is designed to remove obstacles related to unemployment
Youth employed at least 80 hours per month
Youth with medical conditions that prevent them from having having self-sufficiency
Enhanced Aftercare Services FAQ
Contact the local department of social services in the county you currently live in by telephone or in-person to complete an application for services. If the youth lives in another location other than the custody jurisdiction they were assigned, staff will contact the youth’s previous jurisdiction for youth to receive services there.
- A referral is completed and sent to the county’s Independent Living Coordinator for approval. Within 5 business days, the Independent Living Coordinator will:
- Determine if the youth meets requirements for enhanced aftercare
- Conduct an assessment of the youth’s immediate needs and offer any available services
- Perform an FIM to determine if enhanced aftercare is the best way to meet the youth’s needs
Once an appropriate living arrangement is found you will sign an Enhanced Aftercare agreement giving the local department authority to make living arrangement decisions on your behalf. In the agreement, the local department agrees to provide payment for approved living arrangements. (See Enhanced After Care Agreement Form). All living arrangements will meet the requirements of COMAR 07.02.10.03 (simply means youth signing the agreement will be in school/training, employed, or engaged in activities leading to employment) and placement of youth will be provided within 30 calendar days of approval.
The local department will terminate Enhanced Aftercare Service for the following reasons:
- Youth fail to follow regulations in service agreement
- Youth fail to maintain employment, enrollment in an educational program, or a program that is designed to remove obstacles related to unemployment
- Military duty
- Become older than the age of 21
- Youth decide to terminate services themselves
Annual Notice of Resources
Here’s what you need to know. DOWNLOAD THIS Annual Notice of Resources Brochure for information about some benefits and resources that you may be eligible to receive.
National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)
The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) tracks the services and outcomes of youth transitioning (17,19, and 21) from foster care.
NYTD is essential to understanding the needs of youth leaving foster care and areas of improving outcomes for this population.
Complete surveys to help other foster youth by letting us know what we need to improve in the Independent Living / Ready By 21 Initiative.