Text Size
Increase text size
Increase text size


Chafee Foster Care Independence Program

The Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) is a federally funded, statewide independent living program that is county administered (see County/Regional Chafee Programs). The State is responsible for training, technical assistance, program and policy development, monitoring, and administration of the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.

The purpose of the CFCIP is to provide age appropriate independent living services to youth aged 16-21 who are in out-of-home placement or to young adults aged 18-21 who were in out-of-home placement on or after their 18 th birthday. Services are to supplement existing IL resources and programs in county departments, RCCF’s and CPA’s and by federal statute shall not replace or duplicate existing services

Youth are eligible to participate in the Chafee Program if they meet the following criteria:

  • Meet Program Area 4, 5 or 6 target group eligibility requirements or meet community placement requirements for the Division of Youth Corrections (see CFCIP and DYC Youth)
  • Entered adoption assistance at age 16 or older and are under age 21
  • Entered guardianship assistance at age 16 or older and are under age 21
  • Be at risk of aging out of foster care which includes youth:
  • In out-of-home placement under the age of 16 who have a permanency goal of other planned permanent living arrangement/long term foster care (see Services to Youth age 16 and Under)
  • In out-of-home placement age 16-21 who have a permanency goal of other planned permanent living arrangement/long term foster care
  • In out-of-home placement age 16-21 who have a permanency goal of other planned permanent living arrangement/emancipation
  • Emancipated young adults age 18-21 who were in out-of-home placement on or after their 18th birthday
  • Have an updated Family Services Plan, including the 4D
  • Participate on a voluntary basis. (Youth may decide to refuse services but are entitled to reconsider their choice and receive services at a later date)
  • Follow the plan developed by county departments regarding participation in the Chafee Program


Services to Youth age 16 and under:

CFCIP funding has provided states with the opportunity to broaden the eligible population to include youth in out-of-home placement under the age of 16 who have a current permanency goal of other planned permanent living arrangement/long term foster care/emancipation.

This opportunity allows county departments to discuss the importance of beginning to prepare youth for independent living prior to their turning 16. County departments have the option to provide services to youth under the age of 16 in the following ways:

  • Educating county caseworker of the IL needs of youth in foster care
  • Identifying youth under the age of 16 who are on the ‘emancipation’ track
  • Providing concurrent case planning for youth that includes both goals of returning home and emancipation
  • Being available for case consultation
  • Providing literature that outlines the IL/emancipation process
  • Utilizing aftercare youth to provide orientation and/or group discussions about IL to youth under the age of 16
  • Providing Treatment Plan Reviews at RTC’s and/or RCCF’s
  • Participating in multidisciplinary team meetings which include the youth
  • Promoting the use of the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment (ACLSA) by caseworkers, group homes and foster parents (www.caseylifeskills.org). The ACLSA is used to identify the youth’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Participating in Permanency Planning Review Team meetings that meet to discuss permanency issues for youth in care
  • Educating and collaborating with foster parents
  • Providing orientation for 14 and 15 year olds to introduce and explain the Chafee Program.

CFCIP and DYC Youth:

  • Youth ages 16-21 who have been dually adjudicated with both delinquent and abuse/neglect determinations and are currently, or have been at some point, in the care and custody of a County Department of Human Services are eligible for Chafee Program services.
  • Youth that are dually adjudicated with both delinquent and abuse/neglect determinations, and are placed only in a detention facility are not eligible for Chafee Program services. Social Security Act-section 477, 45 CFR 1355.20 7/25/02
  • Youth that have been in foster care, returned home (closed care) and are committed are not eligible for Chafee Program services.

Initiating Chafee Services:

  • Chafee Program services are initiated by a referral from the youth’s primary caseworker. Once a referral is received, the Chafee Counselor will contact the caseworker to get additional social history information on the youth/family.
  • Chafee Counselors will arrange a meeting with the youth at their placement in order to introduce the Chafee Program. Care providers are also encouraged to attend this meeting.
  • If a youth chooses to participate in the Chafee Program, an Independent Living Assessment is conducted with the youth. The assessment tool utilized by the Chafee Program is 65-questions, interview style and includes questions relating to Employment, Household Management, Money Management, Community Resources, and Personal Skills/Communication.
  • The results of the assessment are used to devise an individualized Independent Living Plan for Transition with the youth. The Plan is a written document, which is incorporated into the youth’s case file as a part of their Family Services Plan and is based on the youth’s strengths and needs. Goals should be specific, time-limited and realistic. IL Plans focus on the youth’s goals for education, employment, planned living arrangement and other unique goals of the youth. The Plan will also indicate a youth’s support system and involvement with their biological family. IL Plans are modified as the youth’s goals change or when they have been achieved.
  • Services offered to the youth may include but are not limited to: IL skills development either on an individual basis or in a group setting, education exploration and planning, rental assistance, housing counseling, mentoring, employment counseling and on-going support services.


Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program:


President Bush signed the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Amendments (PSSF Amendments) of 2001, Public Law 107-133 into law on January 17, 2002, Title II, Section 201 of the Amendments, entitled “Educational and Training Vouchers for Youths Aging Out of Foster Care” amends section 477 of Title IV-E of the Act, targeting additional resources specifically to meet the education and training needs of youth aging out of foster care. However, Congress did not appropriate funds for educational and training vouchers until October 2003. The full text of the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, including the Education and Training Vouchers Provisions, can be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws/index.htm.





Colorado’s ETV General Eligibility Requirements

A youth is eligible to receive an ETV if they:

  • Are currently in foster care and are at least 16 years old
  • A citizen or qualified non-citizen
  • Do not have personal assets of more than $10,000
  • Were adopted from foster care after attaining age 16
  • Are 17,18,19 or 20 years old
  • Have obtained a GED or High School Diploma and are entering or enrolled in vocational or college level training
  • Are enrolled in a post-secondary education or training program (college, university, technical certificate or other accredited program at a college or university) or vocational school on or before their 20 th birthday (these youth are eligible to receive the vouchers until age 23, as long as they are showing progress toward that degree or certificate)
  • Are enrolled a minimum of 9 credit hours for freshmen in their first semester with a gradual increase to 18 maximum credit hours per semester and a minimum of 3 credit hours if enrolled during a summer session
  • Are maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA to remain eligible for the program

Referral Process

Education and Training Vouchers are processed completely on-line at www.statevoucher.org.

Chafee Counselors and caseworkers may create a referral along with the youth to provide the CO-ETV Program additional information about the youth and to be considered a point of contact if the youth is unreachable. To create a referral:

  • Go to www.statevoucher.org and click on Colorado.
  • Click on “Social Workers and ETV Administrators”.
  • Click on “Click here to login”. Workers will be asked for a username and password that has been supplied to the county Chafee Coordinator by the State Chafee Program Coordinator.
  • Once logged in, click on “Create Referral”. The referral form is self-explanatory. You will need basic information on the youth, including social security number, date of birth, school information, e-mail address, telephone number and address (fields marked with a bullet are required).

When completing the referral, it is important to provide as many ways of contacting the youth as possible. OFA will attempt to reach them via e-mail, telephone and as a last resort U.S. mail to have them complete the ETV application and submit their Financial Aid Release Form and Student Participation Agreement. NOTE: CO-ETV (OFA) will make three attempts to reach each student. If the student does not respond the referring party will be notified for further action. The referring party will also be notified once funds have been disbursed.

By referring the youth, you are confirming their eligibility. Please assist them with their application and follow up with them as needed throughout the process.

Students must complete a two- part, online application at www.statevoucher.org by clicking on “First time students click here to get started” and following the instructions. A student may also self refer for an ETV (without caseworker assistance). If a youth chooses to apply on their own, the State Chafee Program Coordinator will verify their eligibility.

Students must:

  • Apply and submit the required documentation. Students asking for rent or dorm fees are required to submit copies of a lease or dorm and meal plan bills.
  • Have their own email account and check it weekly
  • Update their contact information online
  • Send their transcripts/grades at the end of each semester/quarter/evaluation period
  • Comply with other program terms that specifically relate to them, such as the ETV Academic Success Program, a probation program designed to help student remain eligible
  • Reapply every year

ETV funds are disbursed on a first come, first serve basis—the sooner a student completes the application process the more likely they will receive funding. ETV can only be used for school related expenses while students are actually registered, enrolled, and attending school/classes/courses, and be in good standing. Students CANNOT receive funds if they are not registered, enrolled, or attending school/classes. School costs and related expenses are addressed in this order:

  • Tuition and Fees
  • Loan Repayment
  • Books and School Supplies (computer, vocational school tools or apparatus.)
  • Room and Board, Rent ( ETV funds may be used to pay a student’s rent for one to three months per semester but students must be responsible for paying their rent without ETV funds)
  • Living Expenses (groceries)
  • Transportation
  • Student Health Insurance
  • Child Care (by licensed child care providers)
  • Dependent Care during school hours
  • Study Abroad costs
  • Other Qualified Expenses as per the Higher Education Act

Please direct your foster and adoptive families and co-workers to visit the website for information on Colorado colleges, training programs and for additional information on the ETV Program. CO-ETV is committed to serving all eligible youth. Please help us reach those who are no longer directly in touch with you but who would benefit greatly from furthering their education and training.

Annual Teen Conference:

The Chafee Program hosts their Annual Teen Conference which is a three-day event that included Chafee Youth Participants from around the state that have been invited by their County Chafee Counselor.


Teen Conference activities included team-building sessions (tribes, low-ropes, climbing wall) and workshops such as a transition panel and other independent living related topics which encourages youth to get involved in their foster care plan.

Teen Conferences give youth the opportunity to network with other youth and for the past several years has been held on a college campus in order to give the youth the unique experience of ‘being a student on campus’.

FosterClub, the national network for youth in foster care, launched the All-Star Program in 2004 and successfully incorporated current and former foster youth as facilitators and leaders of teen conference activities. The All-Stars are highly successful, proving wildly popular among teen conference attendees and providing a “real life, been there-done that” perspective to FosterClub’s event programming.

Celebration of Educational Excellence:

The Annual Celebration of Educational Excellence is a ceremony that acknowledges and celebrates youth in out-of-home placement that have completed their high school diploma, GED, vocational program and/or college degree during the year. The ceremony recognizes youth that have overcome challenges in foster care and have achieved the milestone of graduation.

This highly successful collaborative continues with the support of many community partners including: the Metropolitan State College Student Association of Social Workers, County Departments of Human Services, Mile High Hope, Inc., CASA-Advocates for Children, the Arapahoe Bar Association, Orphan Foundation of America, Rho Lambda Leadership Society of Denver’s University, Colorado Department of Human Services’ Division of Child Welfare and the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.

YES! Academy (Formerly the Transitional Living Program 3-year Pilot Project)

Mile High United Way was awarded the contract for Youth Empowerment Systems (YES!) Academy. YES! Academy provides self-sufficiency services for Chafee-eligible young adults who are experiencing homelessness after aging out of child welfare foster care. Mile High United Way will use a “social investment” system of care evidenced based collaboration for the provision of wrap around services to eligible young adults.

County/Regional Chafee Programs:

To refer a youth to the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, contact the Chafee Counselor in your County/Region. Counties/Regions with active Chafee Programs include:

  • Adams County
  • Alamosa County (Host to—Costilla, Conejos, Huerfano, Las Animas, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache Counties)
  • Arapahoe County (Host to—Elbert and Douglas Counties)
  • Boulder County
  • Broomfield County
  • Denver County
  • El Paso County
  • Fremont County (Host to—Chafee, Custer and Teller Counties)
  • Garfield County
  • Jefferson County (Host to—Gilpen and Clear Creek Counties)
  • La Plata County (Host to—Archuleta, Dolores, Montezuma and San Juan Counties)
  • Larimer County (Host to—Jackson County)
  • Mesa County
  • Montrose County (Host to—Ouray, Delta and San Miguel Counties)
  • Morgan County
  • Pueblo County (Host to—Otero and Crowley Counties)
  • Weld County
  • Yuma County
  • Colorado Department of Human Services—Division of Child Welfare—Chafee Foster Care Independence Program Coordinator—Brian Brant at 303-866-4539.

Equine Experience