You are eligible to start the Bridge to Independence program if you are between 19 and 21 years old and are in one of these situations:
- You aged out of foster care in an out-of-home placement.
- You were discharged into independent living from foster care.
- You were adopted from foster care at age 16 or older (your benefits are a little different).
- You entered into a guardianship agreement at age 16 or older (your benefits are a little different).
Staying in the program
Part of being a capable adult is living up to your responsibilities. If you want to stay in the Bridge to Independence program and keep getting the benefits of the program, here’s what you need to do:
- Meet with your Independence Coordinator at least once a month.
- Be working toward productive adulthood in ONE of these ways (unless medically unable):
- Completing high school or getting your GED.
- Taking classes (at least part-time) at a college or vocational education program.
- Working at least 80 hours per month (about 20 hours per week).
- Volunteering, participating in an internship, working with a career center or participating in another activity designed to help you get work in the future.
- Provide written verification to your IC every six months that you continue to meet the above program eligibility.
Additionally you may:
- Attend permanency review hearings once a year with your IC, a judge and anyone else you think should be there.
- Attend case reviews twice a year with your IC, the Foster Care Review Office, and anyone else you think should be there.
If your situation changes while you’re in the program, and you’re no longer eligible, your IC will tell you and help you become eligible again. You’ll have 30 days to get back on track. If you are dropped from the program, you can appeal the decision.
Eligibility for Extension of Subsidy for kin-gap or state funded guardianship and adoptions
The young adult:
- Must have exited foster care by achieving permanency through an adoption or guardianship at age 16 or older;
- Must have had an abuse/neglect adjudication at the time of the adoption or guardianship;
- Must have an active kin-gap, state-funded guardianship subsidy or adoption subsidy at the time of the young adult's 19th birthday;
- Must meet citizenship/lawful presence requirements;
- Must meet the educational or employment conditions;
- Must be between ages of 19-21; and
- Must sign a mutual agreement which outlines the participation requirements the young adult must participate in to be eligible for the program.
The adoptive parent(s) or guardian(s) must sign an agreement agreeing that the subsidy funds provided by DHHS, and received by the adoptive parent(s) or guardian(s), shall be used for the benefit of the young adult.
Court involvement and case oversight is not required.
The family’s subsidy worker will notify the guardian or the adoptive parent three months before the young adult's 19th birthday to inquire if they are interested in extending the young adult’s subsidy. It will be the responsibility of the guardian or adoptive parent to provide documentation to the income maintenance care foster worker of program eligibility prior to the young adult’s 19th birthday.