Law now requires CYS to supervise 18- to 21-year-olds
Washington County's Courthouse Square office building
Reaching the age of 18 used to mean that dependent children were no longer under the supervision of the court or the Children and Youth Services agency of Washington County.
That has changed, said Kimberly Rogers, administrator of CYS, after the agency’s budget hearing at the Washington County Courthouse Square office building. An 18-year-old can opt to remain in the system until age 21 and ask CYS to help him or her find a place to live.
This could be in a group home, in foster care or in kinship care. The aim, said Tim Kimmel, Washington County human services director, is to help young adults become successful.
Washington County currently has 36 young adults who could decide to remain under the supervision of CYS, which could cost taxpayers $1 million, the agency estimates. The state looks at each young adult’s situation and determines how many will be funded.
So far three – all young women – have decided to return to the agency’s fold.
“We would like them to be in the least restrictive environment possible,” Rogers said,”noting that foster parents are now being called “resource families.”
The three are not living with families because they requested to go back into a group home. “These are kids who have been in the system, usually for a while. We do listen to the youth, because if they’re going into a place where they don’t want to be, they’re just going to pick up and leave,” Rogers said.
Asked why the three returned to CYS, Rogers said, “for a variety of reasons. Where they last were, they thought it would work out, but they needed some more support at age 18.” The federal law, known as “resumption of jurisdiction,” took effect July 1, 2012. It requires the young adults to get a job or enroll in secondary education and counseling.
One young woman came back into Washington County care the summer the law took effect and the other two followed shortly thereafter.
Also in the realm of human services, Kimmel noted that the Washington County Health Center’s 2014 budget is based on the 288-bed facility being occupied at 95 percent capacity, as it has averaged this year.
After checking what it costs to house patients at neighboring private nursing homes, Kimmel said he found that the Washington County Health Center is “at the low end” when it comes to per diem charges, so he plans to ask the county commissioners to raise private-pay rates for adult day care, nursing and dementia unit stays.
A semiprivate room at the health center nursing home costs $235 per day. The reimbursement for patients who enrolled in the Medical Assistance program is currently capped at $216 per day, Kimmel said.
He is hoping the state Legislature will allow the reimbursement to climb to $220 per day retroactive to July 1.