John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program

The John H Chafee Foster Care Independence Program was created in 1999 with passage of the Foster Care Independence Act.  The program was named for Senator Chafee of Rhode Island who had championed similar legislation for older youth in foster care.  His death earlier in 1999 renewed legislative concern for youth who were not likely to achieve permanency before leaving foster care.

Since 1999, other laws have shaped the Chafee Program.  The Promoting Safe and Stable Family Amendments of 2001, added the Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV ) which provides up to $5000 per year for post secondary education.  Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 enables Tribes  to receive funds directly to administer Chafee services and Education and Training Vouchers. 

What does Chafee do?

There were five purposes spelled out in the original legislation. A sixth purpose was added with passage of the Safe and Stable Family Amendments of 2001.

What changes were created by Chafee?

The Chafee Program replaced the Title IV-E Independent Living Initiative that had been in place since 1986.

  • Each state and tribe establishes eligibility criteria for a youth’s participation in Chafee services.
  • States and tribes can choose to use up to 1/3 of their funds to provide room and board for youth who leave care at 18 or later but not yet 21 years of age.
  • States can also to extend Medicaid services to youth who leave care at 18 or later.

What funding is available?

The Chafee Program increased funding to states and changed the funding formula.  With Chafee every state, regardless of size, receives at least $500,000 to provide services to older youth in foster care.  All states receive at least as much funding as they did under the previous Title IV-E Independent Living Initiative.  With passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, Tribes may now apply for funds to administer Chafee and ETV.

What are the reporting requirements?

States are required to report on Chafee goals and objectives each year though the Annual Progress and Services Report (APSR). States are also required to report on services provided to youth and youth outcomes through the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD )

Looking for answers to questions about Chafee?

The official source for answers related to Chafee, ETV, and NYTD are found in the policy manual on the Children’s Bureau’s website.