Juvenile Law Center

Fostering Connections to Success Act in Pennsylvania: Older Youth Provisions

Staying In Care Past Age 18

In July 2012, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed into law new legislation that expands the criteria for youth to stay in care past age 18, allows youth to re-enter care before turning 21 if they aged out at 18 or older, and extends guardianship and adoption subsidies to age 21 for eligible youth who enter these arrangements at age 13 or older. Visit our Fostering Connections page for more information on this legislation, including law and legal resources, research, and resources for youth. 

What do I need to be doing to stay in care past age 18? 

You need to be doing at least one of the activities listed below:

  • Completing high school or an equivalent program;
  • Enrolled in college, community college, or trade school;
  • Participating in a program that will help you get a job; 
  • Working at least 80 hours per month; or
  • You cannot do one of the activities listed above because of a medical or mental health condition. 

Why would I want to stay in care past age 18?

Staying in foster care past age 18 can help you meet your goals for the future. If you remain in care, you will:

  • Have a place to live;
  • Have health insurance and access to medical and mental health treatment providers;
  • Get support from people like social workers, case managers, your lawyer, and child advocates who can assist you in getting the services and supports you need in planning for your future; and
  • Have court reviews of your case and be able to talk to your lawyer and a judge about your needs or problems you are facing.

Who do I talk to about staying in care after age 18?

You can talk to:

  • Your county caseworker, private provider case worker, and Independent Living worker
  • Your lawyer and your CASA
  • The Youth Advisory Board 
  • Call Juvenile Law Center at 1-800-875-8887

What if I left care when I turned 18, but now I've changed my mind?

If you left care when you were 18 or older and are still under 21, you may be eligible to re-enter foster care. To re-enter foster care you need to be doing or agree to do one of the activities listed above. You can get help making this happen. Call your lawyer or Juvenile Law Center at 1-800-875-8887 if you have questions about re-entering foster care. 

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