C. How Does PCA Affect Older Youth?
Extended PCA benefits are available to eligible youth to permit them to remain eligible for PCA through the month in which they turn 21. Youth in this category can also apply for educational training vouchers (ETVs) for vocational or college pursuits, by contacting regional PAL staff.
If DFPS first entered into a PCA agreement with a youth's kinship provider after the child’s 16th birthday, DFPS may continue to provide PCA payments until the last day of the month of the youth’s 21st birthday under Tex. Fam. Code § 264.855, provided the youth or permanent managing conservator submits documentation sufficient to establish that the youth:
• Regularly attends high school (or a program leading toward a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate);
• Regularly attends an institution of higher education (or a postsecondary vocational or technical program);
• Works at least 80 hours a month;
• Participates in a program or activity that promotes employment or removes barriers to it; or
• Is incapable of performing the activities described above because of a documented medical condition.
Currently, the PCA program will expire on August 31, 2017, unless the Texas Legislature extends the program. If the program is not extended, DFPS will not be able to enter into PCA Agreements after August 31, 2017, but shall continue to make payments after that date under a PCA agreement entered into on or before August 31, 2017, according to the terms of the agreement. Tex. Fam. Code § 264.857.
The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, federal legislation passed by U.S. Congress on September 29, 2014, allows for the preservation of a child's eligibility for PCA payments in the event the caregiver dies or becomes incapacitated if a PCA-Successor (a person appointed to permanently care for your child in the event that the caregiver is no longer able) replaces the caregiver as the child's legal guardian.
PCA payments may continue to a PCA-Successor if all of the following conditions are met:
• The kinship caregiver completes an amendment to the Permanency Care Assistance Agreement to name a potential PCA-Successor to receive PCA benefits on the child's behalf in the event of their death or incapacitation.
• The PCA-Successor submits to DFPS the required background check information and that information meets DFPS standards.
• The PCA-Successor signs a Permanency Care Assistance Agreement with DFPS.
• The PCA-Successor submits to DFPS proof demonstrating that he or she has been given legal custody of the child by the court.
The PCA-Successor cannot begin receiving PCA payments from DFPS until he or she has signed a Permanency Care Assistance Agreement and has assumed legal custody of the child. If the PCA-Successor signs the Permanency Care Assistance Agreement after being given legal custody of the child by the court, DFPS may grant retroactive benefits back to the date legal custody was granted, for a period not to exceed 12 months.
The terms and conditions of the PCA Agreement originally signed by the kinship caregiver will also apply to the PCA-Successor.