Extended Foster Care

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab
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About Extended Foster Care

The Extended Foster Care Program in Louisiana is a support system designed to provide assistance and resources to young individuals who have aged out of the traditional foster care system. It offers an extended period of care and guidance to help these young adults transition into independent living successfully.

Extended foster care offers various supports and services, such as housing assistance, educational and career guidance, counseling, and financial assistance. The goal is to help youth become self-sufficient, find stable housing, obtain an education or job, and develop important life skills.

In Louisiana, there is a court process involved in accessing extended foster care. Extended foster care is not automatic for a child after turning 18. Extended foster care is a voluntary program, meaning that youth can choose to participate or not.

What You Need To Know

Entering extended foster care at age 18 is one of the eligibility requirements, but it's not the only option. Extended foster care is generally available for young adults between the ages of 18 and 21 who were in foster care when they turned 18 or have reentered foster care after turning 18. 


Reentering foster care refers to a situation where a young person who was previously in foster care returns to the foster care system after having left it. Reentry can occur for various reasons, such as a temporary or unstable living situation, a need for additional support, or a desire to access services available through foster care. The process and requirements for reentering foster care may vary depending on the individual and the situation. Here is a general overview of what re-entry into foster care may involve: 

  1. Contact Your Former Caseworker Or Social Worker: If you were previously in foster care and wish to reenter the system, reach out to your former caseworker or social worker. They are familiar with your case history and can guide you through the reentry process.
  2. Assess Your Eligibility: The caseworker will evaluate your eligibility for reentering foster care based on various factors, including your age, circumstances, and specific eligibility criteria. This assessment may involve discussions about your current living situation, support needs, and reasons for seeking reentry.
  3. Submit Necessary Documentation: Provide any required documentation or information requested by the caseworker to support your reentry application. This may include personal identification documents, proof of age, and any relevant legal or medical records.
  4. Participate In An Assessment Or Evaluation: The caseworker may conduct an assessment or evaluation to determine your needs and the appropriate level of care or services upon reentry. This assessment may involve discussions about your support network, education, employment, health, and other relevant factors.
  5. Develop A Re-Entry Plan: Work with your caseworker to develop a reentry plan that outlines your goals, needs, and the services you will receive upon reentering foster care. This plan may include placement options, educational support, counseling services, and any other necessary resources.
  6. Attend Court Hearings (If Applicable): Depending on the circumstances, you may need to attend court hearings related to your reentry into foster care. These hearings allow the court to review your case, consider your best interests, and make decisions regarding your reentry and the services you'll receive.
  7. Transition Into Extended Foster Care: Once approved for reentry, you will go through the process of transitioning into foster care. This may involve finding a suitable foster home, a group home, or other types of placement, depending on your age and needs.

The extended foster care program provides services to eligible young adults up to age 21. This means that individuals in foster care can receive support and services until they turn 21, assuming they meet the program's eligibility criteria. 

How To Enter Extended Foster Care

How To Enter Extended Foster Care

The process for a child to enter extended foster care may involve several steps. Here is a general outline of the process, but please note that specific procedures may vary based on individual circumstances and local policies. 

Overview Of The Extended Foster Process

To qualify for extended foster care, a youth must be between the ages of 18 and 21 and have been in foster care when they turned 18 or have re-entered foster care after turning 18. 

If you are already in the foster care system, speak with your assigned caseworker or social worker about your interest in entering extended foster care. Your caseworker or social worker can help guide you through the process and provide the necessary forms and information. 

When you speak with your caseworker about your wish to enter extended foster care, your caseworker will schedule a transition planning meeting with you and other relevant individuals, such as your caseworker, foster parents, and any other supportive adults. This meeting aims to develop a transition plan that outlines your goals, needs, and support services during extended foster care. 

Complete and submit the application for extended foster care services to the DCFS or the appropriate agency responsible for managing extended foster care in Louisiana. Ensure that you include all required documentation and provide accurate information.

As part of the application process, you may undergo an assessment or evaluation to determine your eligibility for extended foster care. This assessment may involve discussions about your readiness for independence, educational goals, employment plans, and other relevant factors.

If necessary, attend court hearings related to your extended foster care application. These hearings allow the court to review your case and make a decision regarding your eligibility and the services you'll receive.

Once approved for extended foster care, work with your caseworker, social worker, or a designated transition specialist to develop a comprehensive extended foster care plan. This plan may include housing, educational support, employment services, health care, and other necessary resources.

Regularly review and update your extended foster care plan to ensure that it aligns with your changing needs and goals. This process may involve meetings with your caseworker, attending periodic reviews, or participating in case plan conferences.

Last Review and Update: Jan 26, 2024
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