What Is Extended Foster Care?

Overview of AB12

What does AB12 do?
AB12 allows anyone who was in foster care on their 18th birthday to keep their case open until age 21. This means that you will still have your social worker, access to services, a lawyer, and the court’s involvement. AB12 is often called Extended Foster Care since you have the option to stay in care from 18-21.
What is different about being over 18, but still in foster care?

The goal of AB12 is to help you transition to adulthood, so the biggest difference is you are now treated more like an adult with greater responsibility. You and your social worker will agree to a Transitional Independent Living Plan with the following goals in mind:
• Develop permanent connections with caring and committed adults.
• Develop independent living skills and have opportunities for increasing responsibility.
• Live in the least restrictive placement.

Why is AB12 a great option?
AB12 gives you some extra support during the years 18 to 21. Most young adults need additional support when they enter the adult world. AB12 is intended to provide that support (like help finding a job, housing, and reaching your educational goals). The help of a social worker and the advocacy of a lawyer are two huge reasons to do AB12. The other great thing about AB12 is the housing options.
Am I going to be treated like a child still?
No. You will be involved in finding the most appropriate placement to fit your needs. You have more freedom to decide where you live, where you go to school, and what services to receive because you are an adult now. You will be expected to try your best at work or school, be respectful to your service providers, and take responsibility for your actions.
What must I do to be eligible for AB12?

In order to stay qualified for AB12, you must be doing one or more of the following:
1. Completing high school or equivalent program; (i.e. GED) OR
2. Enrolled in college, community college or a vocational education program; OR
3. Employed at least 80 hours a month; OR
4. Participating in a program designed to remove barriers to employment (this is the “safety net” category which is intended to support young adults until they can find employment or enroll in school); OR
5. Unable to do one of the above requirements because of a medical condition (short or long-term medical or mental health condition as verified by a health practitioner).

Housing under AB12

Where would I live if I stayed in under AB12?
If you decide to stay in foster care past the age of 18, you have many housing options. You can stay in the foster home you’re living in now, you can apply for a transitional housing program (see info below), or, if you’re ready you can have a new placement option called a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP, see below) where you live with roommates, by yourself, or rent a room from someone.
Can I stay in my group home?
You can stay in your group home until you turn 19, or graduate from high school, whichever comes first. However, there could be a short-term exception if you have a medical condition.
What is a SILP?

SILP stands for Supervised Independent Living Placement. A non-minor dependent must demonstrate an ability to live independently to qualify for a SILP. A big benefit to a SILP is that the foster care benefits check is issued to the non-minor dependent directly. The current SILP payment amount is $923 a month.

  • TIP #1: You can get your SILP check directly deposited in your checking account, so you have the money much quicker — ask your social worker about this.
  • TIP #2: It can take 6 or more weeks for the first SILP check to arrive, so you must have a plan to pay the first few months of rent if you’re moving into a new place.
  • TIP #3: Consider renting a room from a family or friend if you don’t have enough saved to start a new lease.
  • TIP #4: Do not sign a lease without talking to your lawyer first. An apartment lease is a binding legal contract and can have some serious consequences.
What is Transitional Housing?

Under AB12, a new transitional housing placement is available. It’s called Transitional Housing Placement Plus Foster Care (THP+FC). THP+FC is an excellent option for non-minor dependents who want to live more independently but aren’t ready for the more independent SILP option. THP+FC allows you to live in a home or an apartment in the community (usually with roommates) with some support and supervision. Each county has various providers of transitional housing – click here to download a link with these providers. Note that there are waitlists for most transitional housing programs, so plan ahead. For more information on THP+FC, please visit this page on the John Burton Advocates for Youth website.

Can I live out of county or state and still be a part of AB12?
Yes, as long as the placement is approved.
Can I live with my biological parents and still be under AB12?
Yes. You can live with a biological parent in a SILP. Your parent cannot be your payee for the SILP payment.

Court/Legal Considerations under AB12

Do I have to come to court every six months?
At your Status Review Hearing every six months, you are required to come to court physically, or be available to participate via phone. If you can’t do either because of work or school, let your attorney or social worker know.
What if I want to leave foster care sometime before I turn 21?
That is your choice, and you are free to do so. Tell your lawyer, and he or she will counsel you on how to do this.
What is the deal with re-entry?

AB12 is in place so that foster youth have a safety net between the ages of 18 and 21. If you were eligible for AB12 at age 18, but later your case closed (either because you decide to leave or the court closed your case), you can re-enter any time before turning 21. Contact us, or your old social worker, and we’ll get your case re-opened. It will involve filling out form JV-466. Click here to download a JV 466. You can fill in the JV 466 form to speed up the process. You can call our office at 510-496-5200 and say that you want to re-enter foster care to get help. Once the JV-466 is filed at the Juvenile Clerk’s Office, the judge will set a hearing within 15 court days. You must be present at that hearing.

This is a great option if you find yourself without a place to live, or you need support in finding work or getting into school.

Will the court ever close my case once I’m under AB12?

Yes, your AB12 services and support can be terminated if any of the following happen:
• You request for your case to be closed.
• The juvenile court makes a finding that you are not in compliance with one of the five participation conditions above.
• You’re not living in a supervised foster care setting (like if you’re AWOL for a long time or couch surfing).
• You join the military.

***But if these situations change, you can still re-enter any time before you turn 21.

What happens if my social worker recommends that my AB12 case be dismissed?
It’s best that you talk this through with your lawyer. The best thing you can do is provide proof of participation compliance, such as a pay stub or a class schedule. If you have neither, get involved in a program that could help you gain employment as soon as you can.
Can non-minor dependents still get Medi-Cal and a clothing allowance?

Yes and yes. Because of the Affordable Care Act, all youth who are in foster care on their 18th birthday now get Medi-Cal until they are 26. Click here to view information about this

If I have a baby, can I stay in AB12?
Yes. You will also be eligible for an infant supplement to help you support your child.
What if I am on adult criminal probation?
This does not make you ineligible for AB12. However, if you become incarcerated, you may not qualify. If you are a non-minor dependent and you pick up criminal charges, be sure to tell the attorney that represents you in criminal court that you are in foster care.

Additional Links

Know Your RIghts

It can be challenging for youth and young adults to know the rights that they have. This page is a great start.

Mental Health Advocacy

Mental health is a critical and often overlooked aspect of a young person’s health. This page provides resources that can help.


EBCLO’s Education Advocacy Program works to help youth succeed in school.