Youth who left care after the age of 17 but are not yet 21 may elect to come back into care per “SB205 (2013), SB208 (2013), and HB1877 (2016). Section 211.036, RSMo, (commonly called “Re-entry”) is intended to give youth once in custody, but no longer in custody, a second chance.
In making a determination on whether the Children’s Division should petition for re-entry, the main considerations should be the youth’s present circumstances, willingness to participate in services and work towards independence, and the Children’s Division’s ability to provide services to address the youth’s needs.
Youth seeking re-entry will likely be struggling and may have outstanding debt as a result of decisions made while not in custody. He/she may be in crisis and as a result, not employed, going to school, or otherwise performing tasks to work towards independence; consequently, a decision on whether or not to file a petition for re-entry should not be based solely on current circumstances of youth or lack of efforts, and uncooperativeness while in Children’s Division care and custody the first time, although they may be taken into account.
If it is deemed to be in the best interest of the youth, the youth may have his/her custody returned to the Children’s Division through a petition to the Court. The petition may be initiated by the youth, Children’s Division, or Juvenile Officer. Youth requesting re-entry through contact with a Foster Care Case Management Contractor, Specialized Care Contractor or service provider are to be directed to the Children’s Division office in the community where they currently reside.
The petition may be filed:
- In the court that previously exercised jurisdiction,
- In the county where the youth resides, or
- An adjacent county.
When a youth returns to the custody of the Children’s Division, normal case-opening procedures will be followed. A new case is to be opened in FACES. A pop up will appear on the case member screen indicating the youth has a role of child but is over age 18 however the case may be open as this is information only. All case management services the youth would have received had she or he remained in care such as placement, adult support, and clothing allowances. The youth may request a Guardian Ad Litem. Court hearings will be held every six months and as necessary while the youth is in care.
Services should be provided by the previous case manager when possible and agreeable to the youth if returning in the original jurisdiction. If the youth was previously case managed by the Children’s Division, these services are the responsibility of the Children’s Division where the youth now resides. If the youth was previously case managed by a Foster Care Case Management Agency and returns within the service region served by that agency, the youth should be assigned to the Foster Care Case Management agency for case management.
When a youth comes into the office seeking re-entry, it is imperative that the information on the CS-ILP-4 be fully completed and contact information for the youth be provided. A conversation should be held with the youth to determine if the youth is in need of re-entry or aftercare services, if the youth is willing to comply with services, and what services are expected. Youth should provide alternate numbers for contact of where he/she can be reached and of those who will know how to contact him/her. Division of Legal Services will need to know if the youth is employed, where the youth is staying, if the youth wants to go to school, and if the youth understands what coming back into custody means. This should be documented on the CS-ILP-4. The person sending the referral to Division of Legal Services should follow-up within one week of the date of the referral and subsequently as needed.
For the purpose of re-entry, a youth is a person who meets all of the following criteria:
- any person age 17 through 20 who was previously placed in the care, custody and control (LS-1) of the Children’s Division;
- was released from care, custody and control within the last 24 months;
- is otherwise competent, and not in a guardianship or conservatorship, and is not in the custody of any other individual or institution;
- is not incarcerated or committed to any jail, detention facility, or the Department of Corrections.
Youth will work in conjunction with the Children’s Division for services to be provided and will:
- participate in and comply with any transition plan developed by the Children’s Division, Family Support Team, and the youth;
- meet with his/her Children’s Services Worker, the Juvenile Office representative, and Chafee Provider, as required;
- participate in any services provided such as Chafee and Transitional Living Program Services;
- enroll in and attend a “secondary school program of instruction” or an “institution of vocational or higher education,” if determined the program will benefit the youth in his/her efforts to achieve independence.
- find and maintain employment to supplement the youth’s transition plan
- work to maintain his/her own efforts toward independent living.
The Children’s Division may amend the transition plan from time to time in conjunction with the Family Support Team, as it is in the best interests of the youth.
The Children’s Division may request to be relieved of custody when
- The youth is unwilling or unable to develop, implement, or otherwise cooperate with the implementation of the transition plan;
- The youth pleads or is found guilty of any felony, or any misdemeanor in which the youth is sentenced to a period of incarceration;
- The youth is committed to the custody of any sheriff or the Department of Corrections;
- Any other circumstance where the youth fails to cooperate with the Children’s Division or the Children’s Division does not have services available or the ability to provide services.
If a youth is returned to the Children’s Division custody under section 211.036, and the Children’s Division is consequently relieved of custody for any of the above reasons, another petition will not be filed by Children’s Division on behalf of the youth.