Becoming a successful adult takes planning and support from many people including family, mentors, your caseworker and your peers.
ACS can help by working with your caseworker and your foster care agency to make sure you have the information and the resources to succeed.
Preparing to Leave Foster Care
Once you reach age 18, your foster care agency must obtain your written consent to remain in care. You can choose to stay in care until your 21st birthday and continue to work with your agency towards your discharge from care.
Make sure you are at each meeting to discuss Service Plan Reviews. These meetings take place every six months. You can bring anyone you want to support you at the meeting.
If you decide to leave foster care before your 21st birthday, you and your caseworker must have a transition plan in place that addresses emergency housing, income support and identifies a support network in your community.
Know Before You Go
- Connect to employment services and/or educational programs.
- Make sure you have proper documentation and immigration status before you turn 21 including your birth certificate, Social Security Card, New York State/New York City ID.
- Get a copy of your credit report.
- Get your high school diploma, GED, vocational training and apply for/or attend college.
- Get a list of public hospitals and clinics where you can obtain low cost health and dental services. Learn more
- Obtain a copy of your medical records. Your records should contain information about all medical care you received while in ACS care including:
- The name, phone number and address for your primary physician while in care.
- Copy of your complete medical history.
- The name, phone number and address of any other doctor or medical facility from which you received on-going medical treatment.
Keep this information in a safe place with all other important personal documents.
Before You Leave Foster Care
If your permanency goal is Another Permanent Planned Living Arrangement (APPLA+), in addition to all the information above, your agency should help you:
- Identify your “significant adult(s)” or permanent adult connection. Tell your caseworker about anyone whom you would feel comfortable calling on for help after you are out of foster care.
- Complete housing applications before you turn 21 or leave foster care, so you can access housing priority for young people leaving foster care through the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) or another supportive housing program.
- Apply for Medicaid benefits, and ensure that you are moved to transitional Medicaid while you wait for your own Medicaid coverage to begin.
- Apply for public assistance and/or SSI benefits, if you are eligible, and if you need it.
- If you are discharged between the ages of 18 and 21, ACS and your foster care agency will continue to assist you with services, if needed.
Trial Discharge From Care
Going out on your own can be scary and difficult. All youth leaving care are given a trial discharge period of at least six months, to help make the transition smoother. During the trial discharge your will live on your own and ACS and your agency will continue to offer you services where needed.
At least 90 days before your last day in foster care your social worker must:
- Notify you in writing about your discharge date;
- Identify people and services that can help you when you leave foster care;
- Submit a request for furniture and other supplies if needed.
Do You Need More Time?
If you are under 21, you may be able to return to care up to one year after leaving, under certain circumstances including:
- Adoption or other permanency arrangement was disrupted or discontinued;
- Being discharged from care because you did not give written consent to remain in care.
Education and Career Planning