V. T. Youth Transition Policy

Effective 2/10/2012

<< Click to Display Table of Contents >>

Navigation:  Child and Family Services Policy > Section V - Services to Children in Substitute Care >

V. T. Youth Transition Policy

Effective 2/10/2012

Previous pageReturn to chapter overviewNext page





The Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) believes youth transition planning and life skills development should be done concurrently with ongoing efforts to explore, support, and advocate for legally permanent families and life-long connections for youth.  OCFS believes positive family connections are vital to youth outcomes and that no young person, regardless of age, should exit foster care without meaningful, safe, and supportive family connections.  


Youth transition services are provided to youth in care honoring the Youth in Care Bill of Rights (see Addendum 1).    Transition planning will occur in partnership with youth and will take into account the youth’s needs, resources, natural supports, and goals.   Supportive services encompass a broad range of services, meaningful discussions, and active involvement by the youth and their team to help youth become prepared to successfully live interdependently in the community as young adults.


Older youth in care must be given a variety of opportunities to learn and practice essential competency based life skills.  OCFS recognizes that youth learn by “trial and error” and we are committed to ensuring that youth have the supports and opportunities that are provided to their counterparts in the community to build essential life skills and which are developmentally appropriate and culturally competent.  We are committed to honoring youth voice and choice in all planning when determining the supports and services that are best suited to meet their needs.  




Title IV-E of the Social Security Act; Sections 471, 472, 474, 475, and 477; Title I, Improved Independent Living Program, Public Law 106-109, Foster Care Independence Act of 1999.  


The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-109), enacted into law on December 14, 1999, amending section 477 of the Social Security Act.


Federal Register, Part II, Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 45 CFR Part 1356, Chafee National Youth in Transition Database; Final Rule.  2/26/08.


The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act H.R. 6893, enacted in October 2008, amended Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.


Title 22, MRSA, Chapter 402, Section 5, Subsection 4037-A regarding Extended Care.


Federal Regulation 45 C.F.R. 1356.21(j); based pm 42 U.S.C.A. Subsection 675(4)(B) regarding Parenting Teens in Foster Care.


Title 29-A MRSA, Chapter 11, Subchapter 2, Section 1304, Subsection 1, and Title 29-A MRSA, Chapter 11, Subchapter 3, Section 1351, Subsection 1,  

Paragraph H, pertaining to requirements for youth to obtain a driver’s license.  



For the purposes of Youth Transition Services, the term child and youth is used interchangeably to mean an individual age 18 to 21.




Youth in foster care who are age 15 to 18 years old.  


Youth who turn 18 years old while in foster care may sign a Voluntary Extended Care (V9) Agreement with the Department to the age of 21, while residing in Maine or temporarily in another state as part of their V9 Agreement.  


Youth who turned 18 years old while in foster care, but who were legally adopted after the age of 18, when that adoption disrupts prior to the age of 21.

Youth who is residing with birth parents, may enter into a V9 Agreement from age 18-21, when OCFS oversight and support is needed to ensure youth safety and permanency.


Youth in the custody of the Department or on V9 Agreement who are pregnant and/or parenting, transitioning from residential placements, in apartment placements, homeless, and likely to need adult services will be given priority.


Youth who experience adoption or permanent guardianship disruption, but who do not re-enter foster care may submit a letter of request for V9 status to the district office from which they were adopted or entered permanent guardianship.  The Program Administrator shall review the youth’s request and make a recommendation to the Director of Child Welfare Policy and Practice for a final approval decision.


Youth in foster care who would have been eligible for adoption assistance subsidy or permanency guardianship subsidy prior to turning 18 and who signed a V9 Agreement and are subsequently adopted through Probate Court between 18 and 21 may continue to receive V9 services. The youth and adoptive parent must submit a letter of request to the Division of Child Welfare Director of Policy and Practice for approval to remain in V9 status indicating the circumstances of why adoption could not have occurred prior to age 18. The youth must also continue to meet the other educational and employment eligibility criteria.


Youth in foster care age 18-21 who have a signed V9 Agreement and who has their parent’s parental rights reinstated in accordance with Family Reunification Policy VII, F may remain in V9 status after the reinstatement of parental rights.


Youth who was in foster care and is now experiencing factors that place the youth at risk of homelessness may request to enter into a V9 Agreement.


Youth who were adopted, entered permanency guardianship, or were reunified with family at age 16 or older from DHHS custody, may be eligible to receive Education and Training Voucher (ETV) funds.  


The Department does not discriminate with regard to Chafee youth transition services or ETV funding based on race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or any other factor that might prevent an older youth in care from receiving the benefit of program services.  


Youth participation in youth transition services will be voluntary, but actively encouraged.  


Youth who decline youth transition services will be encouraged to reconsider their decision and may receive services at a later date up to the age of 21.  





The Youth Transition Planning Tool is used to generate meaningful conversation with the youth to assist in planning for a successful transition to adulthood.  It is the caseworker’s responsibility to ensure the Youth Transition Planning Tool is completed with youth.  A youth’s wish to share information will guide the conversation and there may be more or less information documented in each life domain.  Caseworkers should summarize youth responses, rather than attempt to answer every question in order.  


Regardless of placement type, the Youth Transition Planning Tool must be completed once with youth within 6 months of their 15th birthday, or within 6 months of entering care if older than 15 and may be updated as part of the youth’s case plan.  


A copy of the Youth Transition Planning Tool, including the Summary and Analysis, should be provided to the youth (and signed) prior to presenting the information at Family Team Meetings for case planning.  The youth is consulted about how they would like this information shared at their Family Team Meeting as part of their case planning process.  Youth are informed that this information could be shared as part of their court process.  The Youth Transition Tool is documented in Maine’s Automated Child Welfare Information System (MACWIS).  


The Youth Transition Tool may be completed by the Youth Transition Worker, the youth’s caseworker or a combination; however, collaboration with the youth’s assigned caseworker must occur prior to completing an assessment.  These strengths and needs assessments with youth should be done in a way that best meets the youth’s emotional and developmental needs.  


Permission was granted by John VanDenBerg for adaptation of his Strengths, Needs, and Culture Discovery (SNCD) Interview for the purpose of assessing youth’s strengths and needs.  





Planning for the youth’s future transition to adulthood, including on-going efforts to connect youth with permanent families will occur in the context of the youth’s Family Team Meeting, as part of their case planning.  


Caseworkers, in consultation with Youth Transition Workers, will ensure life skills training and supports are provided to all youth in care, beginning at age 15 to help youth develop essential life skills before the age of 18.    


Youth Transition Workers will work directly with youth who are identified as being at high risk of disruption in placement or education, or most in need of additional supportive services because they are engaging in behaviors that place their safety at risk.


Caseworkers will ensure that the following life skills/independent living services and supports are provided to youth in care between the ages of 15 and 18, with follow-up services to youth on Voluntary Extended Support (V9) Agreements, through OCFS staff, caregivers, contracted providers, or by referral:


Lifebook with all relevant historical data of their stay in care concurrent with discussion on reconnection with birth family and resources for preparation for those possibilities.


Academic support, tutoring, study skills training, assistance with homework, preparation for SAT’s, General Equivalency Diploma (GED) and other exams, and help accessing educational resources.


Post-secondary educational preparation and support, tutoring, information about academic and training programs, information about financial aid, ETV funds, scholarships, and tuition waiver, help completing college or loan applications, college tours, conversations and support that assist the youth to plan for, enter, and complete post-secondary education or training programs.


Career and vocational planning, preparation, training, and support that help youth develop an ability to find, apply for, and retain employment.  This includes job readiness training, job search assistance, resume writing, interviewing skills, and connecting with job placement programs.


Budgeting, financial management, and consumer skills training and support.


Housing education and home management skills, homemaker skills, tenant's rights, meal planning and preparation, nutrition, laundry, housekeeping, grocery shopping, and basic home maintenance.


Health education, family planning, sex education, healthy relationships, parenting, risk prevention, and substance abuse prevention,  


Provide support services to youth in foster care who have children.  


oWhen a youth in care becomes pregnant, the caseworker should identify and assist in a referral for prenatal care and services.


oThe Department believes that whenever possible children should remain with their parent(s) unless this places the child in circumstances of jeopardy.  This also applies to youth males and females who are in foster care.  Youth parents should be provided the same parental and legal rights as adult parents.  


oAs with adult parents, youth parents (youth in care who have legal custody of their own children) have the right to direct their child’s upbringing, even when they reside in a family foster home or residential facility.  Additionally, the expectations placed on youth parents should be similar to the parental expectations of adult parents.    


oUnless there is a compelling reason to remove custody of the child from the youth parent, services and supports should be provided to the youth to help strengthen the parent/child bond and to assist the youth in providing a permanent home for their child.  When appropriate, contact between the child and the non-custodial parent should be supported and efforts to include natural supports should be made on an on-going basis.    


oThe youth in care’s assigned caseworker will assess the safety and well-being of the youth parent’s child.  The caseworker will work with the youth parent to assure the child’s safety, and will make referrals to CDS, PHN or Home Visiting, parenting instruction, and other services as needed.    


When the youth in care’s child remains in the custody of the youth (youth parent) an additional allowance of $ 10 per day will be made to the family foster home or a residential placement to assist the provider in paying for the needs of the youth’s parent’s child.  When a youth parent has V9 status, the allowance will be made directly to the youth.  

If the youth parent’s child is found to be in circumstances of jeopardy and the child is removed from the custody of the youth parent, the child will be added to the open MACWIS case involving the youth in care. When the youth in care’s child enters custody, a youth parent allowance does not apply. Instead, a LOC determination on the child who has entered foster care will be made and the appropriate board payment will be made.  


Family support and healthy marriage education regarding safe and stable families, communication, teen parenting, childcare skills, healthy marriage, and family violence prevention.


Informing youth about community resources, making appointments, peer support organizations, mentoring programs, youth leadership opportunities, and other resources that youth may need to develop self-sufficiency.


Informing youth in care about their rights by providing them with a copy of the Youth in Care Bill of Rights.

Informing youth in care who are at least 14 years old that they may participate in Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT) activities.

Assisting youth each year beginning at age 16, until their discharge from foster care or the youth turns 18, in obtaining and interpreting an annual free credit report and to resolve any inconsistencies.

oCaseworkers must submit the request each year in partnership with youth.  The youth must be an active participant in the process of requesting his or her annual credit report. Caseworkers may not simply obtain a report on the youth’s behalf.

oRequests must be submitted to www.annualcreditreport.com, or by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by mailing a request to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105283, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

oCaseworkers will assist youth in interpreting the credit report and resolving any inconsistencies.  Information to assist with the interpretation and education can be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website: www.ftc.gov/freereports


Making referrals or assisting with applications as needed (i.e. Social Security, Veterans Benefits, Vocational Rehabilitation, Mentoring, and adult services).  




When a youth becomes 18 years old and is no longer in DHHS custody, the Department shall not receive benefits on the youth’s behalf, unless designated by Social Security Administration to act as the youth’s representative payee.  Able youth should be provided the opportunity to gain experience by managing their own benefits.  

If the youth has not applied for benefits for which they might be eligible, the Department’s caseworker and their supervisor will assist the youth with applying for the necessary benefits prior to their 18th birthday.


oWhen referrals to other state agencies are needed, they will be made when the youth is 17 years of age in accordance with the interagency agreements in effect between the Office of Child and Family Services and other state government agencies.



Providing Youth with all necessary vital documents prior to exiting foster care at age 18, including:


oA letter on DHHS letterhead that provides official documentation verifying the Youth was previously in foster care; states the specific dates the Youth was a ward of the State of Maine; and is signed by the assigned Supervisor (See Appendix 4 for letter template). 


oAn identification card when Youth does not have a valid driver’s license or passport;


oSocial Security card issued by the Commissioner of Social Security;


oMaineCare Card;


oAn official or certified copy of the Youth’s birth certificate;


oDocumentation of immigration, citizenship; or naturalization, when applicable;


oA copy of medical, health, and immunization records and known family medical history information;


oEducational records such as high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, and a copy of their last IEP;


oDeath certificates when parents are deceased;


oA life book or a compilation of personal history and photographs, as appropriate;


oA list of known relatives, with relationships, addresses, email addresses and   telephone numbers.

The Caseworker will ensure copies of these documents are kept in the Youth’s file. The date and type of vital record given to the Youth will be documented in MACWIS under the Narrative Log.



Informing young adults, age 18-21, about the importance of designating another trusted individual to make health care treatment decisions on their behalf should they become unable to participate in such decisions, by accessing information about health care proxy and healthcare power of attorney, and to make an informed decision about executing their own advance directive documents.  When approaching age 18, youth should be provided the following website: https://www.caringinfo.org/PlanningAhead/AdvanceDirectives/Stateaddownload.htm


Informing youth about healthcare options and how to apply for Mainecare upon turning 18.


Facilitate appropriate youth peer to peer mentoring opportunities.




Caseworkers will ensure that all youth in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, aged 15 and older, have a State of Maine Picture ID, when the youth does not possess a valid driver’s license or passport.  


A copy of the “Application for State of Maine Identification Card” may be found in Appendix 2 or at https://www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/forms/IDcard.doc  


The APPLICATION FOR STATE OF MAINE IDENTIFICATION CARD must be signed by the youth (applicant).  A completed Application, along with a purchase order for the $5 fee, must be taken by the youth to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).  To complete a purchase order, select “Department of Motor Vehicles” located under Community Resources in MACWIS.


The caseworker or supervisor need not be present with the youth at the BMV for the youth to complete the picture ID process. While the instructions on page 2 of the application states that one of the documents must bear the applicant’s written signature, this is not required for youth in the custody of the DHHS. 


In addition to the Application and purchase order, the youth must present two forms of identification:


1)A Birth Certificate (original or certified copy).  (BMV will not keep this)

2)A letter on DHHS letterhead containing:

a.A statement that the youth listed is in the custody of the State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

b.The youth’s name and date of birth.

c.The youth’s current physical address.

d.The signature of the youth’s caseworker or caseworker’s supervisor.




The Department of Health and Human Services recognizes the importance of completing a driver’s education course and obtaining a driver’s license for older youth in care.  Completing driver’s education is necessary to develop the safe driving skills needed to obtain a driver’s license.  Access to education, employment, health care, and other community-based activities for older youth in care is dependent on access to transportation.


When appropriate, youth will be provided the opportunity to complete driver’s education prior to the age of 18 or as part of their Voluntary Extended Support (V9) Agreement.


Prior to the youth’s 16th birthday, caseworkers will inform the youth that funds for driver’s education are available. The youth’s caseworker will discuss the expectations, responsibilities, and steps involved in obtaining a driver’s license with the youth, their caregiver and others as needed.  Together, they will decide when the youth should be encouraged to enroll in a driver’s education program, within the following guidelines:  


The Department of Health and Human Services will cover the total cost for driver’s education.  

Prior to starting their driver’s education course, the youth will provide their caseworker with a list of the names of individuals who are willing to supervise their practice driving time.  This will give the caseworker time to review the list and perform any background checks on individuals at their discretion. All individuals assisting the youth with their practice driving hours must be insured to the minimum liability, or other coverage limits required by the law.

The Department may pay a professional driving instructor when  needed for driving time.  

The youth’s caseworker, the supervisor, and the District Program Administrator may deny the youth’s request for driver’s education, interrupt the driver’s education and licensing process, or revoke the youth’s driving privileges at any time due to the following specific circumstances and conditions:


oA medical doctor or mental health professional recommends, in writing, to the youth’s caseworker that the youth not drive due to physical, mental, or emotional conditions that would significantly impair the youth’s functioning and judgment making the youth a threat to themselves or others when operating a motor vehicle.


oA pattern of drug and alcohol use by the youth.


oViolent and unsafe behavior by the youth during the previous six months.


oA pattern of suspension, non-attendance, or expulsion from school by the youth during the previous six months.


oOther unsafe behaviors and/or irresponsible behaviors that a reasonable and prudent person would consider to be evidence of poor judgment related to the operation of a motor vehicle.


oFailure to attend scheduled Drivers Education classes.


For a youth who is denied the opportunity to obtain driver’s education, the caseworker will provide to the youth, in writing, the reasons for the denial and the opportunity to develop a reasonable plan that outlines what is expected of them in order to complete driver’s education.


When enrolling in driving school, the youth must submit an original birth certificate (or notarized copy – not a photocopy), completed driving school forms, and a Departmental purchase order to the school. Completed driving school forms will include a caseworker’s signature.


The youth’s caseworker will send all necessary completed paperwork and the Departmental purchase order directly to the driving school within a timeframe that allows for the youth to begin driver’s education as soon as possible.


After the youth’s driving hours log is complete, it must be signed by either a District Program Administrator or Supervisor in order for the youth to be able to schedule a time for their driver’s license road test.  The signature of one of these individuals for the youth’s driving hours log is required by BMV for any youth up to age 21.  


The youth must procure a registered and insured vehicle in which to take the road test.  BMV verifies that the vehicle is registered, inspected and insured at the time the road test is taken.  Caseworker approval is required with regard to the person who owns the vehicle that the youth will be using for their road test.


In the event that a registered and insured vehicle in which to take the road test is unavailable, DHHS will pay for the rental of a driver’s education vehicle for youth to use to take the road test.


Once the youth passes the road test and obtains their 60-day temporary driver’s license, they will go the local BMV office with their parent or guardian within 60 days to obtain their picture license.  The parent or guardian must go with the youth to sign for the picture license.  




No youth in care under the age of 18 may own a motor vehicle in their own name.  However, a youth in care under the age of 18 may operate a motor vehicle if it is owned under the name of a responsible adult and they are allowing the youth to use the vehicle.  The vehicle must be properly insured according to the law as verified by the youth’s caseworker.  Any violations of motor vehicle or insurance laws and the consequences of such violations will be the responsibility of the youth.




All youth in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services who reach the age of 18 achieve full adult rights and responsibilities and are automatically dismissed from custody; however, the Department and the youth may negotiate a written Voluntary Extended Support (V9) Agreement.  (See Appendix 3 for a copy of the V9 Agreement).


A V9 Agreement provides an extended time for the caseworker to partner with the youth and assist in the development of permanent family connections, life-long community connections, and to help the youth acquire additional life skills to become self-sufficient to meet their personal goals.  


The Department’s caseworker will offer the Voluntary Extended Care (V9) Agreement to every youth in care 90 days prior to the youth’s 18th birthday, with the following exceptions:  


The youth enters an adult Section 24 Waiver through the Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities (OAPCD) on their 18th birthday.


The youth has been living with their parent (s) prior to the age of 18 and will continue to do so after age 18. There is some exception to this if the youth’s home living arrangement is such that continued Department support is needed for the youth to safely remain in their parent’s home.


The youth has had an unresolved history of criminal offenses against persons (sexual crimes or crimes of violence) and/or has continued to be consistently noncompliant with the Department’s expectations regarding placement and other services.


Eligible youth may negotiate a Voluntary Extended Care (V9) Agreement with the Department in order to receive extended support until their 21st birthday for any of the following reasons:    


Obtaining a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED),

Going on to a post-secondary educational program or a specialized post-secondary education certification program.

Participating in an employment skills training program.

Is employed for at least 80 hours per month

Is incapable of participating in an education or training program or is unable to work 80 hours per week due to a medical or behaviors health condition that is documented in MACWIS.

Has specialized placement needs that cannot be met by an alternative plan.


For youth placed in-state while on a V9 Agreement, monthly face-to-face contact with the youth is required. 


For youth placed out-of-state while on a V9 Agreement, monthly phone contact with the youth is required.  For youth placed out-of-state, the caseworker and supervisor will develop a plan for face-to-face contact that meets the youth’s need for in-person support and intervention. This plan will be documented in MACWIS.  In general, face-to-face visits with youth should be planned for when the youth is in the state.


The V9 Agreement should set attainable educational, employment, and/or employment preparation expectations for the youth or document why youth cannot participate in these, and should include a plan for meeting the ongoing transition needs of the youth, including connecting youth to permanent family, life- long connections, and connections to the community.


All youth will be offered a Family Team Meeting to discuss the opportunity to participate in the V9 program, to negotiate the V9 Agreement, and to participate in their case/transition planning every six months.  


The V9 Agreement will take into account the youth’s financial circumstances and transition needs, individual circumstances, youth supports and resources,  placement and roommate choices, and their individual goals.


As part of the V9 Agreement, the Department will negotiate with the youth an amount to be provided to cover room and board expenses, taking into account the youth’s income (including SSI and other benefits).  Room and board allowances will include reasonable costs associated with housing, rent deposits, utilities, and “start-up items” (furniture, kitchenware, linens, etc), transportation, phone, food, medical needs not covered by MaineCare, and emergency needs.  Youth with V9 status are also entitled to clothing allowance and Christmas money as outlined in IV.A. Service Authorization Policy.


The youth’s caseworker will document in the youth’s Maine Automated Child Welfare Information System (MACWIS) case record that the V9 Agreement was offered and the youth’s response.  A copy of the V9 Agreement will be documented in MACWIS, and provided to the youth.    


For all youth with a V9 Agreement, the caseworker will participate in an annual permanency hearing with the youth in District Court.  In accordance with Title 22, Subsection 4037-A, the District Court will hold a permanency hearing for each youth on V9 status at least once every 12 months.


The caseworker, in partnership with the youth, will present to the court the reason for the extended care and support, and updates related to the youth’s safety, permanency, well-being, the Department’s efforts toward meeting the goals outlined in the V9 Agreement, the services needed to help the youth transition from foster care to independent living, and the need for continued extended care and support by DHHS and the youth.  


The court must make an initial court determination that remaining in foster care is in the child’s best interest and at each subsequent review the court must make a finding that the Department has made reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan.


If the youth exits V9 status and later re-enters V9 status, the court must again make an initial court determination that remaining in foster care is in the child’s best interest.


If the youth declines the offer of the V9 Agreement, their MACWIS case will remain open for 30 days, beginning on the youth’s 18th birthday, to allow for the youth to change their mind and enter a V9 Agreement.  If the youth can be contacted, the caseworker will state the Department’s expectations with regard to the V9 Agreement.  


In addition, to comply with Title 22, Subsection 4037-A Extended Care Legislation, when the youth declines the offer of a V9 Agreement or their V9 Agreement is suspended and the youth’s case is closed with DHHS, the youth’s court case will remain open until age 21. This will provide an opportunity for the youth to enter/return to V9 status at a later time up to age 21 and annual Permanency Reviews will be required.  The only exception to this is when the youth retains V9 status, but also has legal permanence through adoption or reinstatement of parental rights after the age of 18.  When a youth on V9 status has legal permanence, the youth’s court case will be closed.  


Youth who will require on-going support services as an adult should be referred to the appropriate state agencies in accordance with the interagency agreements in effect between the Department of Health and Human Services and other state government agencies.  


Planning for the youth’s transition to adult services should begin at age 17.  The caseworker will also apply on behalf of the youth for other sources of possible financial support such as Supplemental Security Income, TANF, Medical Assistance program, and other local resources.  These youth may be maintained on the V9 Agreement until an effective transition is made to the appropriate adult support resources.


When a V9 Agreement is required for a youth who has been assigned an adult case manager through the Office of Adults with Cognitive or Physical Disabilities (OACPD) (i.e. adult mental health or developmental disabilities services), or who is under the legal guardianship of the State of Maine Adult Protective Services, the youth’s case will remain open for payment needs; however, the OCFS caseworker will no longer be required to make monthly face-to-face contacts.  Ongoing case management responsibility will reside with the offices of adult services.    


For all youth with a V9 Agreement, the caseworker or OACPD adult case manager will participate in an annual judicial review with the youth in District Court.  


For youth with a V9 Agreement, the Department will not:

Assume responsibility for any damages incurred by the youth after the age of 18.

Provide legal counsel for any youth age 18 or older.  (The Department’s caseworker and supervisor will decide whether or not to appear on behalf of the youth in a court proceeding).

Sign "releases of information" forms for youth age 18 or older.  

Assume responsibility for any contracts made by youth age 18 or older.  

Co-sign leases or contracts with youth age 18 or older.  





V9 Agreements are a partnership between the youth and the Department and will be reviewed by the youth and their caseworker every six months or sooner as needed.  The only exception is for youth on a V9 Agreement under the case management responsibility of the Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities (OACPD).  For these youth, the initial V9 Agreement will remain in effect until the V9 is closed and the OACPD case manager will be responsible for on-going planning with the youth and youth’s supports.


Youth will be included in discussions and decision making with regard to proposed changes to the terms of their V9 Agreement.   Youth have the option of meeting with their caseworker, youth transition worker, and the caseworker’s supervisor to discuss the terms of the V9 Agreement.  


Either the Department of Health and Human Services or the youth may suspend the youth’s Voluntary Extended Care Agreement by a 90 day written notice.  


The caseworker will inform the youth in writing that they have 90 days to come back into compliance with the terms of the Agreement or to renegotiate the terms of the Agreement.  


The caseworker and supervisor shall determine whether or not to continue providing financial support such as rent, clothing purchase orders, and other forms of financial support during this period.    


A V9 Agreement may be suspended when:


The youth has achieved independence to the extent that financial and support services are no longer needed.

The youth has made a voluntary decision not to participate in the program.  

The youth has consistently demonstrated unwillingness, or inability to participate in program services, or follow the terms of the V9 Agreement.


The youth enters a branch of the military.

If a youth’s V9 Agreement is suspended, the youth may request the Department to re-open and negotiate a V9 Agreement at any time until their 21st birthday in accordance with DHHS policy and eligibility requirements.  

When a youth, who has previously declined the offer of a V9 Agreement or who has had their V9 Agreement suspended, contacts a caseworker within the Department, he/she will be told that they may be eligible to receive extended support services from the Department until the age of 21.  


In these situations, the caseworker and/or youth transition worker will contact the youth and may make one initial visit to discuss options with the youth prior to a case being opened in MACWIS.  The youth’s case will be reopened in MACWIS and all contacts regarding the negotiation of a V9 Agreement will be documented.  A copy of the signed V9 Agreement will be provided to the youth and put in the youth’s case file.  




The Caseworker and their supervisor will negotiate with the youth to decide whether to support an apartment, dorm, or other setting as an appropriate placement for youth age 18 or older; and whether to pay some or all of the youth’s room and board and housing costs. Apartment living is considered when:


Youth is in need of placement and family/foster care placements have been ruled out and documented in the youth’s case record.  


Youth is between the ages of 18 and 21, and has a signed Voluntary Extended Support (V9) Agreement that addresses OCFS expectations for youth residing in an apartment.


Youth requires only minimal adult supervision and support and demonstrates independent living skills to maintain their own residence.


Youth has demonstrated an ability to maintain safety, is not considered a danger to self or others, and there is no recent history of dangerous behaviors.  


Youth possess organizational skills required to maintain their own residence:

oMoney management

oCan access community resources, including transportation

oCan maintain appropriate apartment living behaviors



Youth may have a diagnosis (such as ADHD) and/or some form of mild mental health needs for which they have demonstrated an ability to appropriately manage.  


OCFS will work with landlords and youth to secure apartments.  OCFS generally arranges board payments to landlords who are willing to accept bi-weekly payments from the Department.  


While youth have a signed V9 Agreement, the Department will negotiate with youth to provide state funds, within available resources, to maintain the youth’s placement when necessary.  This may include deposits, utilities, and “start-up items” (bed, table, kitchenware, furniture, etc) and will be a negotiated amount based on the youth’s income, circumstances, and reasonable expectations for the youth to contribute to their own living expenses.  


Apartments should meet the following minimum standards:


Provide reasonable access to school, employment, and other necessary services;

Comply with all applicable state and local zoning, fire, sanitary, and safety regulations

Be reasonably priced to match the youth's finances;

Provide an environment which is conducive to the youth in terms of maintaining positive social relationships;


For a youth with an assessed Levels of Care (LOC) of A-C (low to moderate levels of support needs), caseworkers will follow the new placement policy and monthly caseworker visits policy.


For youth placed in their own apartment upon discharge from Residential/Group Home settings or from a therapeutic foster home, when the youth is currently assessed at a Levels of Care of D or E (high level of support needs):


Prior approval must be granted by the Program Administrator or designee when apartment living is requested for youth transitioning from Residential/Group Home and Therapeutic Foster Care placements directly into an apartment.  


The OCFS Caseworker or Youth Transition Worker will meet with the youth on a weekly basis for the first three (3) months of a youth moving into their own apartment.  


oOCFS Caseworkers will meet at least monthly with youth to monitor their safety and well-being.  Youth Transition Workers will provide additional support, life skills training, and help with connecting the youth to family, community resources and supports.   Youth Transition Workers will also keep the assigned caseworker informed of the youth’s progress and any concerns that develop.  


At the end of the first three (3) months, the youth, along with his or her team will review whether this level of support remains necessary. Reductions in the frequency of face-to-face contact, along with other case planning, will be decided at the youth’s family team meeting and agreed upon by the youth’s caseworker and casework supervisor.  


After-hours emergencies will be handled in the same manner as other after-hours emergencies.




In accordance with the requirements of Fostering Connections Act, caseworkers will finalize the youth’s transitional plan within 90 days of a youth exiting care at age 18, 19, 20, or 21.  


The Transition Plan is to be outlined in the youth’s Voluntary Extended Care (V9) Agreement, whether or not a youth accepts the offer of a V9 Agreement.  This finalized transition plan must be as detailed as the youth chooses.  


Information regarding the finalized transition plan and meeting with the youth will be documented by the caseworker in the MACWIS "Narrative Log."




Use of Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Funds:


To be eligible to receive ETV financial assistance, young adults:



oBe in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services; or

oHave a signed Voluntary Extended Support (V9) Agreement; or

oHave been adopted at age 16 or older; or

oEntered into legal Permanent Guardianship at age 16 or older; or

oReunified with family at age 16 or older.



oMust have graduated from high school or obtained a G.E.D.; and

oMust have been accepted by an accredited post-secondary school/program; and

oMust have submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA form), and applied for any other financial aid; and

oMust be making satisfactory progress toward the completion of their program, or is on academic probation (allowed by the school to continue) with a plan to regain their status of good academic standing; and

oMay be temporarily out-of-state to attend an eligible post-secondary education program.  


Young adults may be eligible to continue receiving ETV funds until their 23rd birthday when:


They were participating in the program at age 21 (V9 Agreement no longer required from age 21-23); and

They are enrolled in a post-secondary education or training program that meets the federal definition of Institute of Higher Education; and

They are making satisfactory progress toward the completion of that program, as determined by the Institution.




By mid June prior to the beginning of the post-secondary academic year for which assistance is needed, caseworkers will provide a list of youth planning to attend post-secondary education or training, including the name of the institution to the district Youth Transition Worker or Youth Transition Specialist.  


The Youth Transition Specialist will determine the amount of ETV Funds that will be made available to each youth based on their need and available funds, up to $5000 per academic school year based on availability of funds.  Students must remain in good academic standing for continued ETV assistance.  


Expenses payable with ETV funds:


There is no minimum required number of credits to receive ETV funding; however, some restrictions apply.  ETV funds may be used when youth attend accredited or pre-accredited institutions or training programs that meet section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, for the following costs of attendance:


Tuition, fees normally assessed for all students in the same course of study, and student loans;

Reasonable room and board costs;

Books, supplies, tools, uniforms, equipment, computer (at least half-time attendance as determined by the Institution), tutoring, and miscellaneous personal expenses required for the course of study;  

School related travel;

Activity and health fee(s);

Acceptance deposits;

For students with dependent children, reasonable childcare expenses for time required to complete the course of study; and

For students with a disability, an allowance (as determined by the institution) for those expenses related to the student’s disability.


Expenses NOT payable with ETV funds:


Non-accredited post-secondary Education and Training programs;

School application fees;

Fees for Scholastic Aptitude Test;

Financial assistance applications;

Apartment security deposits;

Costs of damages; or

Late fees incurred by the student.


Prior to the beginning of the academic school year, Youth Transition staff will send a letter to Institutions for youth needing financial assistance from the Department explaining the billing process.  Youth will also be asked to sign a Release of Information so that the Department can speak with the post-secondary institution on the youth’s behalf when needed and to obtain information about youth’s academic standing.  


An original bill showing all expenses and credits must be submitted for payment.

Payment up to the amount allocated is contingent upon the Department's receipt of federal funds as planned and the continued eligibility of the student.


Payment is made to the institution or to another party for allowable expenses after all other sources of financial aid are applied.  


Use of State Funds for Post-Secondary Education and Training:


Districts may use their discretion to determine whether state child welfare funds will be made available to youth when the youth’s post-secondary program does not meet the federal requirements for the permitted use of ETV funds.  


If the amount of funding provided by the Department, through federal ETV and state funds, is not sufficient to meet the total of the identified individual need, the student may decide to apply for school loans.  




This is a federal requirement of the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act of 1999.   NYTD requires States to collect three types of information about the supports provided to older youth in care, aged 15-21:  1) Independent Living Services; 2) Youth Demographics and Characteristics; and 3) Youth Outcomes through a Survey.  


1.Independent Living Services:


Caseworkers will document in MACWIS, by completing the NYTD checklist and providing documentation in the narrative log, all of the independent living services paid for or provided to youth in foster care aged 15-21, including meaningful conversations, informal supports and formal services provided by contract providers, foster parents, and caseworkers.  Caseworkers must ask foster parents, respite providers, residential providers, and other contracted providers about the types of independent living services and support they are providing to youth.  


This information will be reported to the federal government twice a year.  The time periods are for services provided Oct. 1-March 31 and April 1-Sept. 31.  These Services must be documented by March 31, September 31, or before the case can be closed.


2.Youth Demographics/Characteristics:


Caseworkers will document the following characteristics for all youth in care and on V9 Agreement, aged 15-21, in MACWIS:

Whether the youth received special education instruction

Has youth ever been an adjudicated delinquent (i.e. adjudicated before the age of 18)

Is enrolled in or eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe

The last grade completed and graduation status


Caseworkers must document these characteristics in specifically designated MACWIS screens:

School Window

Juvenile Justice Window (off the demographics screen)

ICWA Window(off the demographics screen)

School Window


These demographics/characteristics must be documented by March 31, September 31, or before the case can be closed.


3.Youth Outcomes NYTD Surveys:


Only youth who are in foster care within 45 days following their 17th birthday will be asked to complete the NYTD baseline Survey.  Youth who provide at least one valid answer to the survey are considered part of the Baseline Population.  


Caseworkers will ask eligible youth if they are willing to complete the NYTD Survey by reading the questions exactly as written (clarification about a question may be provided) or by providing youth with a paper copy of the NYTD Survey.  


Caseworkers must obtain informed consent from youth before completing their survey.  Youth must be informed that the survey is voluntary and there will be no negative consequences for declining to complete the survey.  Youth can decide how much detail they are willing to provide.  The youth’s consent is verified when they decide to complete the survey.


Caseworkers will need to enter the actual date the youth completed the survey in the NYTD Survey in MACWIS. Youth must complete the 17 year old (baseline) survey within 45 days of turning 17.  Youth who enter care more than 45 days after their 17th birthday will not be asked to complete the NYTD Survey.


Answers provided by youth must be recorded as stated by the youth and cannot be changed based on information from other sources.


The following youth are excluded from the NYTD Survey and should not be asked to complete a NYTD Survey:


Youth who is incarcerated (i.e. confined in a correctional/detention facility for allegedly committing a crime)

Youth who is on a “trial placement”

Youth who has a temporary or permanent mental condition (States have discretion to determine whether a youth is unable to participate in the NYTD Survey)


A NYTD Survey must be submitted for every eligible youth, even youth who do not provide at least one valid answer to the survey (i.e. youth declines to participate, caregiver declines, or youth is excluded).  The youth’s “Reporting Status” and “Date of Survey” must be completed and the survey must be submitted in MACWIS and must comply with NYTD timeframes.


Caseworkers will also ask youth, aged 18 and older, whether they are willing to  sign the permission located at the end of the V9 Agreement that would allow the  Department (or a contracted provider)  to locate the youth at ages 19 and 21 to voluntarily complete a NYTD follow-up survey.  


Youth who provided at least one valid response to the NYTD Survey at age 17 (part of the Baseline Population) will be asked to complete the NYTD Survey again at ages 19 and 21 (Follow up Population).




The Maine Youth in Care Bill of Rights


The Maine Youth in Care Bill of Rights provides youth in care with a resource they can use to advocate for themselves and to make sure that their rights are being honored and upheld. This Bill illustrates what caseworkers and others can do to uphold the rights of youth and provides a guide that all can use to improve the foster care system for current and future youth in care.


All children and youth in foster care have the right to …


Have lifelong family connections, including siblings, grandparents and extended family.

Youth have a right to visitation, ongoing contact with and/or knowledge of their parents, siblings, extended family, friends, and pets.

Youth have a right to have a Life Book that is started when they enter care.

A pregnant or parenting youth has a right to raise and make decisions for their children, as any other citizen does.


Live with, be loved by and cared for by those they consider family.

Youth have the right to permanency.

Youth have the right to be placed in their home communities, live in a safe environment and have pre-placement visits.

Youth have the right to live with their siblings.

Youth have the right to keep their personal belongings with them and to expect age appropriate privacy.


Be who they are.

Youth have the right to their own identity, values, freedom to express their emotions, hopes, plans and goals, religion/spirituality.

Youth have the right to learn about their sexuality in a safe and supportive environment.

Youth have the right to privacy in relation to their personal journal/diary, letters, emails, telephone calls and other personal belongings, except in cases where there is just cause in supervising the youth to prevent self harm or harm to other individuals.

Youth have the most basic right to receive care and services that are free of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity and gender expression, religion, sexual orientation, physical and mental disability, and the fact that they are in foster care.


Be included in their case planning with a team of people that advocates with them and for them.

Youth have a right to have meaningful participation in their Family Team Meetings, treatment team meetings, court, and school meetings.

Youth have a right to have family members or other supportive people of their choice present at their team meetings.

Youth have a right to have monthly contact with their DHHS caseworker and have their phone calls returned.

Youth should have access resources and be able to seek information about resources.

Youth have a right to access their case records and expect accuracy in what is recorded in their case record.


Have an informed choice in the types of physical, dental and mental health care they receive.

Youth have the right to have a choice and options when a treatment provider is being assigned to them.

Youth have a right to see and understand their treatment plans, be informed about and have a say in treatment decisions being made.

Youth have a right to be informed about medications, medication options, and have a voice in decisions about prescription of medication.

Youth have a right to not be overmedicated, to not be punished for refusal to take medications, and to be made aware of the possible risks that come from refusing to take medication.

Youth should be able to have visitation with people that are important to them while receiving treatment.

Youth should be able to receive care and services that are fair, respectful, safe, confidential and free from discrimination.

Youth have a right to access their medical records.


Have a qualified advocate (e.g., GAL, surrogate parent, mental health advocate, attorney, etc.) representing them and helping the youth advocate for themselves.

Youth have a right to know their rights.

Youth have a right to attend court and speak with the judge overseeing their case.

Youth have a right to request a change in their GAL.

Participate in and receive a high quality education, including ability to participate in extracurricular activities.

Youth have a right to an education, equal to what anyone in Maine deserves.

Youth have a right to receive blanket consent for participation in school activities.

Youth have a right to participate in activities that all youth enjoy, and not be restricted from these activities simply because of their status in foster care or their particular type of placement.


Receive the skills, knowledge and resources needed to be a successful adult after they transition from foster care.

Youth in care have the right to a transition plan and process when they leave DHHS care.

Youth have a right to obtain identification and personal records, including their social security card and birth certificate

Youth have a right to continue relationships when they exit care with individuals who have helped them while in care.

Youth have a right to expect and receive help in reconnecting with their birth family.

Youth have a right to learn about how to enter into the DHHS Extended Care Agreement (V-9 agreement) prior to their 18th birthday.

In this Transition Process, youth have a right to give evaluative comments about the services they have received to a neutral person.


The Maine Youth in Care Bill of Rights


In order to uphold the rights of all youth, caseworkers, GALs, care providers, parents, and other adults are responsible to…

Actively support lifelong family connections for youth, including siblings, grandparents and extended family.

Work diligently to place each child with someone the youth considers to be family.

Learn from youth who they are and ensure that youths’ identity is honored and protected.

Connect youth with a caring adult who listens to them, advocates for them, and helps them to advocate for themselves.

Actively engage youth in case planning with a team of people that advocates on behalf of the youth.

Meet with youth monthly and return their phone calls promptly.

Ensure youth have full information and choice in the types of physical, dental and mental health care they receive.

Secure living environments and services for youth that are fair, respectful, safe, confidential and free from discrimination.

Identify a qualified advocate (e.g., GAL, surrogate parent, mental health advocate, attorney, etc.) to represent youth and help the youth advocate for themselves.

Enroll youth in a high quality education program and promptly approve youth participation in extracurricular activities.

Encourage and approve youth participation in activities that all youth enjoy.

Connect youth with resources that promote the development of skills, knowledge and resources youth need to be a successful adults after they transition from foster care.

Nurture and support youth as they exit care with continuing relationships with individuals who have helped them while in care.




_________________________________ ___/___/_____

Youth Signature Date


Name Printed

_________________________________ ___/___/_____

Caseworker or Guardian Signature Date


Name Printed


We would like to recognize and thank Paula Burrows, USM student and YLAT member, who led the development of this Bill of Rights with Maine youth in care and their allies.







                                                                          FEE $5.00



NAME: ___________________________________________

    FIRST                 MIDDLE        LAST


MAINE MAILING ADDRESS: _________________________________________________                    

                       STREET/P.O. BOX        CITY/ TOWN        STATE        ZIP


ACTUAL RESIDENCE:  ________________________________________________________________      

                                  STREET/ROUTE    CITY/TOWN                  STATE              ZIP


DATE OF BIRTH: ___ / ___ / ___          SEX: ( ) MALE   ( ) FEMALE    





HEIGHT:  ___ FT. ___ IN.        WEIGHT:  _______ LBS.     HAIR COLOR: _________   EYE COLOR: ___________



This statement is made in accordance with the Federal Privacy Act of 1974, Section 7(b). Disclosure of your Social Security Number is mandatory and is required by 29-A MRSA § 1301(5) and (6) to apply for or renew a driver’s license or non-driver identification card. Your social security number will be used solely for identification purposes and will be kept confidential.




_______________________________________________            ______________________

SIGNATURE IN INK                                                        DATE




MV-16 REV 11/04
















                                                                                                                              ____TRANSCRIPT (CERTIFIED)____ MILITARY DEPENDENT I.D.    ____ DRIVER EDUCATION CARD        ____ MEDICAL RECORDS FROM                                                                                                                           DOCTOR/HOSPITAL

____ MILITARY DISCHARGE/        ____ BIRTH CERTIFICATE                     ____ PARENT/GUARDIAN,

        SEPARATION (DD-214)                                                                                                      (PARENT/GUARDIAN MUST APPEAR IN PERSON AND PROVE HIS/HER




                 ISSUING OFFICIAL














Part I   Contact Information:


Youth: __________________________   Address: ______________________________

Ph/Cell No: ______________________________ Email:__________________________


Caseworker: _____________________   Address: ______________________________

Phone No: ______________________________ Email:___________________________


Supervisor: _____________________   Address: _______________________________

Phone No: ______________________________ Email:___________________________


Program Administrator: ___________________Address: _______________________

Phone No: ______________________________ Email:___________________________


Youth Transition Worker: _________________Address: _______________________

Phone No: ______________________________ Email:___________________________


Part II   General Terms (Apply to all V9 Agreements):


1.I understand the Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) or the youth may renegotiate, suspend, or terminate this voluntary agreement by providing written notice.  There is a 90 day period within which to renegotiate this agreement under terms that are mutually agreed upon between the youth and Department. 


2.I understand that I have the right to request a meeting with my caseworker and their supervisor at any time to renegotiate the terms of my Agreement.  I understand that this agreement may be modified as circumstances, needs and abilities change, as long as the Department and I agree to the modifications.


3.I understand that in order to participate in this program, I must sign releases of information to allow continued communication between the Department and other professionals providing services to me, including caregivers, service providers, and educational providers.


4.I understand that this Agreement may be suspended if I engage in violent or serious criminal behavior, consistently fail to follow the terms of this agreement, or fail to remain in good academic standing.  


5.I understand that the Department will not:


Assume responsibility for any damages incurred by me after age 18.

Sign "releases of information" forms for me beginning at age 18.  

Assume responsibility for any contracts I make beginning at age 18.

Co-sign leases or contracts with me beginning at age 18.  

Provide legal counsel for me after age 18.


Part III   Transition Planning:






Life Long Connections/Mentors:








Health Insurance/Health Care Proxy:








Employment and Work Support:




Physical/Sexual/Mental Health:








Financial Education:  




Vital Documents:




Life Skills:




Support Services:




Other(s): ______________________________





Part IV  


Terms that are specific to (name of youth) ___________________________:


1.This voluntary agreement is for the purpose of: 


2.I agree to participate in the following services unless or until there is consensus between my caseworker, the service provider and myself that they have been successfully completed or are no longer necessary:


3.I agree to participate in the following Education Plan (provide specific details, including hours of attendance required, of education programming):


4.I agree to the following conditions of employment (include minimum number of hours of employment required):


5.I agree to apply for MaineCare at age 18 and reapply as required to maintain coverage.


6.I agree to the following additional conditions of this agreement:


Part V The Department of Health and Human Services agrees to provide the following services as long as this agreement is in effect (note that agreement cannot extend beyond 21st birthday):


1.The Department agrees to provide negotiated financial support based on my budget and available funds, which may include: rent (including decisions regarding roommates), room and board, foster care board payments, education costs, clothing allowances, and any other specified financial assistance.  


Monthly financial support in the amount of: _$_______ will be provided.


2.The Department agrees to assist me to apply for support benefits, such as MaineCare, Food Stamps, TANF, Social Security, etc.


3.The Department will assign a caseworker to provide the following services to me:


A.Partner with me to help me achieve the goals of my Transition Plan (Part III);

B.Advocate with me or on my behalf when needed;

C.Direct access to my caseworker for advice, consultation, guidance and support;

D.Feedback on my progress at reaching goals I have identified with my Caseworker;

E.Referrals for services which can help me to achieve goals I have identified;

F.Support and assist me when I am struggling with difficult challenges or crises in my life;

G.Other services as agreed to by caseworker and youth (specify):




Youth will be given a copy of this V9 Agreement



Youth will be given a copy of this V9 Agreement with contact information completed in Part 1.  Youth will be notified that they have the right to change their mind and request a V9 Agreement from the Department until the age of 21.



Signature of Youth _______________________________           Date _________


Signature of Caseworker __________________________          Date _________


Signature of Supervisor ___________________________          Date _________



Optional Consent


I do ___ do not ___ agree to allow DHHS to provide my contact information to Muskie/YLAT for the purpose of allowing Muskie staff to contact me about helpful educational, employment, and community resources or opportunities.



Youth’s Signature _______________________________    Date _________



Consent to Allow the Use of Administrative Data

for Tracking and Location for NYTD Survey


I, _____________________ [print name], authorize Maine DHHS or Contracted NYTD Provider to review various kinds of administrative records (e.g., department of motor vehicle records, public assistance records, educational records, child welfare records, unemployment insurance wage records, credit bureau records, vital statistics records, and criminal justice records) to locate and contact me for follow-up NYTD surveys when I am 19 and 21 years old.


I understand that by signing this agreement I am voluntarily authorizing DHHS or Contracted NYTD Provider to use my social security number to review the records mentioned above.



______________________________________________               ____________________

Youth’s Signature                                                    Date



Appendix 4:








RE:   Youth’s Name (DOB   /   /   )

        Verification of Foster Care



To whom it Concerns:


This letter is to confirm that (Youth’s name) (DOB   /   /   ) was a ward of the State of Maine, under the legal guardianship and custody of the State of Maine, Department of Health and Human Services, until his or her 18th birthday, from    /   /     to    /   /    .

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at

(207)      -        .






Office of Child and Family Services

Child Welfare Supervisor