Aftercare Services


What are Aftercare Services?

Independent Living Aftercare Services are available on a voluntary basis to individuals ages 18 to 21 years old who were in out-of-home foster care placement on their 18th birthday and exited care after their 18th birthday.  Youth are not eligible who left foster care prior to their 18th birthday, nor are they eligible after they reach age 21.  Independent Living Aftercare services are designed to support former foster care youth ages 18 to 21 years old in their effort to achieve self-sufficiency. These services are divided into two types:
  • Independent Living After Care Services
  • Enhanced After Care Services

Who Can Participate in Independent Living After Care Services?

Independent Living Aftercare Services Eligibility:
  • Exited out-of-home placement after their 18th birthday, but have not attained the age of 21 or exited via adoption or relative guardianship after their 16th birthday;
  • Need continued help in making the transition to self-sufficiency;
  • And participate in the development of a service agreement and sign and comply with its terms.
  1. Financial assistance to purchase goods and services;
  2. Temporary assistance with room, board, and utilities;
  3. Counseling;
  4. Employment assistance;
  5. Education;
  6. Medical assistance; and
  7. Other appropriate services to assist with self sufficiency.

How can I apply?

  1. Eligible former foster youth shall apply for independent living after care services through their local department of social services in the county in which they currently reside.
  2. After the local department verifies that the you meets the eligibility requirements, the local department staff shall contact the you within 5 business days of application. The caseworker assigned to the you must meet with you within 10 business days to conduct an assessment to determine the appropriateness of aftercare services and linkage to other agency or community services.
  3. If the caseworker determines you are appropriate for after care services, you and the caseworker shall enter into an independent living service agreement. The tasks outlined in the service agreement shall address the your needs  presented at the time of application. After Care services are designed to be up to 180 days. Aftercare services may be extended based on your needs with appropriate agency authorization. Service can not extend past your 21st birthday.

What is Enhanced After Care Services?

Enhanced After Care Services allows youth to re-enter out-of-home placement through the signing of a voluntary placement agreement. Enhanced After Care Voluntary Placement Agreement Services specifically provide services to former foster youth that exited Maryland DHR foster care after age 18. These youth are eligible for services which include services provided to youth in out-of-home placement services or receive a SILA Payment. Youth in enhanced after care are not considered to be foster children.

Who Can Participate in Enhanced Aftercare Services?

  1. Youth was in the care and custody or guardianship of a Maryland local department of social services on his/her 18th birthday;
  2.  Youth left foster care prior to age 21;
  3. Youth is not older than 20yrs 6 months at the time of application for enhanced after care voluntary placement services;
  4. Youth cannot have exited foster care due to reunification, adoption, guardianship, marriage, or military duty; and I agree to enter into one of the following within 30 days of signing the agreement
  5. Completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential; or
  6. Enrolled in an institution which provides post-secondary or vocational training; or
  7. Participating in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to unemployment; or
  8. Employed at least 80 hours per month; or
  9. Incapable of doing any of the above described activities due to a medical condition.

How can I apply?

  1. The youth contacts the local department that held custody or guardianship at the time of case closure either by telephone or in person to request placement services. If the youth resides in another jurisdiction and it is not geographically feasible for the original jurisdiction to handle the request (i.e. custody jurisdiction was Garrett County and child now resides in Wicomico County), the Assistant Director shall immediately contact the jurisdiction in which the youth resides to arrange the provision of services by that jurisdiction.
  2. A referral is completed. Once approved, the referral is forwarded to the local department staff person (Independent Living Coordinator) identified at each local department to respond to requests for enhanced after care by former foster youth.
  3. Within 5 business days, the local department Independent Living Coordinator shall:
    • Determine if the youth meets criteria for enhanced after care;
    • Conduct an initial assessment of his/her immediate needs and offer any available services to resolve immediate needs and to ascertain level of after care services desired and required; and
    • Hold a FIM (include the youth and their support network; i.e. parents, siblings, extended family, friends, and service providers, if applicable) to develop an after care plan and determine if enhanced after care is the best way to meet the youth’s needs.
  4. The Assistant Director for Services (or their designee) shall approve all requests for enhanced after care services. Once approved, the local department shall make diligent efforts to locate an appropriate living arrangement to meet your needs.
  5. Youth shall reside in a paid independent living program or be provided with SILA. Congregate care or foster family homes may only be used as an interim measure until an independent living program is available or arrangements for SILA can be made.
  6. Once an appropriate living arrangement is identified and available, you will sign an Enhanced After Care agreement giving the local department authority to make living arrangement decisions on your behalf. You shall agree to comply with service plan and placement requirements. The local department agrees to provide payment for approved living arrangements. (See Enhanced After Care Agreement Form)
  7. You shall be in compliance with COMAR, (in school/training or employed or engaged in activities leading to employment) within 30 calendar days of approval for enhanced after care services. You shall also comply with all requirements of the residence and independent living service agreement developed with the local department.
  8. Failure to comply with eligibility criteria, residence rules or service plans are grounds for rescission of the enhanced after care agreement. The local department shall provide 9 calendar days notice prior to rescission of payment responsibility, including information on procedures for appealing the local department decision. You may also rescind the agreement with 10 calendar days notice to the local department. In any case, eligibility cannot extend past age 21 and shall end upon the youth’s 21st birthday.

Termination of Enhanced After Care Services

The local department shall terminate Enhanced After Care Service for the following reasons:
  • Your failure to comply with service agreement;
  • Your failure to maintain employment or enrollment in educational program or participating in a program to remove barriers;
  • Marriage;
  • Military duty;
  • You reach the age of 21;
  • Death; or
  • Voluntarily termination of services.

Complete Your Ready By 21 Exit Survey

Ready By 21 Exit Survey
Click here to download the Ready By 21 Exit Survey. Remember, this survey is to completed on the day you are leaving foster care. The completed survey should be given to your Independent Living Coordinator and Social Worker.