South Texas Region Eight DFPS PALS Benefits
Education - Tuition and Fee Waiver:
Many former foster youth are able to go to publicly funded Texas colleges, universities, and vocational schools for FREE with the Tuition and Fee Waiver. Your PAL (Preparation for Adult Living) Worker can help you get your Tuition Waiver. You can find more information about Tuition Waivers here at TexasFosterYouth.org.
Health Insurance - Former Foster Care Children’s Medicaid (FFCC)
Former foster youth between the age of 18 and 26 qualify for FFCC Medicaid if you aged out of foster care in Texas, were receiving foster youth Medicaid when you aged out, you are a US Citizen or other legal non-citizen, and you currently live in Texas. Not having to worry about how to pay for medical costs while you are going to college or starting out in your career is a huge benefit! The easiest way to apply for FFCC is to do it online at www.YourTexasBenefits.com. The BCFS/PAL Center can help. It is very important that you keep your address up to date and remember to renew your coverage every year.
Medicaid for Transitioning Foster Care Youth (MTFCY)
If you were NOT covered by Medicaid when you aged out of care, you will not be eligible for FFCC; however, you may be eligible to apply for a different type of Medicaid called Medicaid for Transitioning Foster Care Youth (MTFCY). (Note that most foster youth ARE covered by Medicaid when they age out of care.)
Housing- Extended Foster Care Program
Once you turn 18 you are legally considered an adult and can choose to leave foster care; however, because it can be very difficult to live on your own, you also have the option to stay in Extended Foster Care. You can stay in Extended Foster Care until the end of the month you turn 22 if you regularly attend high school or are enrolled in a program leading to a diploma or GED. You can also return to Extended Foster Care after you’ve aged out if you meet the requirements, a placement is available, and you sign the agreement. To return to care, you can contact your PAL Worker or the BCFS/PAL Center at (210)733-7932.
Housing- Supervised Independent Living (SIL) Program
The SIL Program is part of Extended Foster Care, but instead of living with a foster family, it allows former foster youth to live more independently - typically in an apartment or shared house. Youth who participate in the SIL program are not supervised as closely and are given more responsibilities, such as handling finances, buying their own groceries, and working with a landlord. SIL is available to youth between the ages of 18 and 21, although you can apply before you turn 18. There is usually a long waiting list so you should apply as soon as possible. Your CPS or PAL caseworker can give you an application, or you can find it here.
Housing - Aftercare Room & Board Assistance
Former foster youth between the ages of 18 and 21 who aged out of DFPS foster care may be able to get up to $500 per month to cover emergency housing costs such as rent, deposits, utilities and groceries. The maximum amount of Aftercare Room and Board you can get is $3,000. You must show that you have financial need, that you are currently going to school, working, looking for a job, or medically unable to work, and that you are a US Citizen or have legal immigrant status. Contact the BCFS/PAL Center for more information at (210)733-7932
Transitional Living Allowance (TLA):
If you completed the PAL Life Skills Training classes you may be eligible to receive a Transitional Living Allowance (“TLA”) of up to $1,000 to help you cover the initial costs of living on your own. You must be currently going to school, working, actively looking for a job, or be medically unable to work; you must also be moving to an independent or supervised living situation, and be a US Citizen or have legal immigrant status. Contact the BCFS/PAL Center for more information at (210)733-7932.
Other Housing Assistance
You can also contact your caseworker or the BCFS/PAL Center at (210)733-7932 to get help applying for public housing, finding local emergency shelters, and exploring other housing options.
Education & Training Voucher Program:
The Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV) provides additional money to former foster youth who enroll in college or a training program. Unlike the Tuition Waiver, which does not cover living expenses and school supplies, ETV can be used to help pay for things like housing, food, books, child care, computers, and health care costs in addition to tuition.
To apply, contact your PAL Worker for help, go to www.texasetv.com or call 877-268-4063.