For youth who do not have the option of remaining in state care and custody after 17.5 years old, or if the youth has developed a reasonable and acceptable aftercare plan and requested to leave custody, Chafee services should be used as a safety net, not a supplemental funding source, to assist them in reaching self-sufficiency and independence.
Former foster youth who left care at 17.5 years old or after, but have not reached age 21 may choose to request assistance only once or return intermittently to seek assistance as needed. The Act is very clear; funding cannot be expended for room and board for any child who has not reached 18 years of age or for young adults upon reaching their 21st birthday. There are no exceptions to this law. Former foster youth who left care prior to age 17.5 are not eligible for Chafee Aftercare services, with the exception of youth who obtained kinship guardianship or adoption after the age of sixteen, who are eligible for full Chafee services. Most Chafee services, except Education and Training Vouchers, must end for the young adult upon reaching his/her 21st birthday, regardless of the legal status, with the exception of youth who obtained adoption or guardianship after the age of sixteen, who are eligible for full Chafee services.