Recent Changes to DCFS Rules and Regulations
The Department of Children and Family Services regularly updates and changes its rules and policies. Below are brief descriptions of recently passed regulations that affect our clients. Please see the DCFS website for the full version of the regulations.
DCFS Scholarship Program: In January 2015, DCFS released Policy Guide 2015.01, which reflected the following changes to the DCFS Scholarship Program:
- The number of scholarships is expanded from 48 to 53;
- The scholarships will last for five years instead of four, as long as the youth recipient is continuing to work toward graduation; and
- Any unused scholarship dollars and fee waivers will be reallocated to another recipient.
KinGap Subsidized Guardianship Program: In December 2014, DCFS released Policy Guide 2014.19, outlining changes to the KinGap subsidized guardianship program. A significant change as of September 2014 expanded KinGap eligibility requirements to allow KinGap subsidies to be transferred to a successor legal guardian, without the case coming back into court, as long as that successor guardian was named in the KinGap agreement (or an amendment to the agreement) prior to the death or incapacity of the former guardian. Once the successor legal guardian assumes care of the child, DCFS will disburse the monthly KinGap payments directly to the named successor guardian.
Sibling Placement and Visitation: In July 2014, DCFS released Policy Transmittal 2014.15, which updated its sibling placement and visitation procedures. The procedures define "siblings" as children who have at least one parent in common, and encourage increased contact, visitation and placement of siblings in substitute care. Additionally, the procedures require that every child entering or leaving substitute care receive the DCFS publication, How to Connect With Your Brothers and Sisters.
For a copy of How to Connect With Your Brothers and Sisters, click here
Post-Permanency Sibling Contact: Also in July 2014, DCFS released Policy Transmittal 2014.15, issuing procedures regarding post-permanency sibling contact. These procedures encourage prospective adoptive parents and legal guardians to enter into a "Post-Permanency Contact Agreement" when siblings will be adopted or have their case closed due to a private guardianship arrangement. The procedures also allow for adoptive parents and legal guardians to sign "Post-Permanency Contact Agreements" after a sibling's cases is closed. These initiatives were mandated by changes to the Children and Family Services Act and Juvenile Court Act in 2012. DCFS is in the process of adopting Rules regarding post-permanency sibling contact.
Emancipation Funds: In June 2014, DCFS released Policy Guide 2014.07, "Countdown to 21," which, among other changes, modified the way DCFS distributes emancipation funds. Beginning July 1, 2014, youth with an open case who comply with the requirements below will receive a one-time payment of $1,200 in emancipation funds. In order to be eligible to receive this payment, youth must:
- Reside in a DCFS-approved substitute care placement;
- Attend a 90-day Discharge-Clinical Intervention for Placement Preservation (D-CIPP) staffing;
- Complete a "Youth-Driven Transition Plan" or "ILO/TLP Quarterly Transition Discharge Launch Plan";
- Provide their post-emancipation address and a description of their living arrangement;
- Identify a supportive resource person that will be available to assist them in their emancipation;
- Complete a DCFS-approved financial literacy course; and
- Complete an "Emancipation Funding Application and Disbursement Plan."
Home and Vehicle Modification Program: In June 2014, DCFS released Policy Transmittal 2014.13, modifying procedures for the Home and Vehicle Modification Program. The procedures now limit program eligibility to children who have adoption or subsidized guardianship permanency goals.
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