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November/December 2001Vol. 2, No. 6Former Foster Youth in Arizona and New Jersey Get Extended Medicaid Coverage

Thanks in part to the Federal Chafee Foster Care Independence Act (FCIA), Arizona and New Jersey have extended Medicaid coverage to youths 18 to 21 years of age who have "graduated" from foster care.

FCIA, enacted in 1999, provides increased resources to help youths who have aged out of foster care attain success in the transition to independence. FCIA offers States matching Federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage and other services and supports, and affords States greater flexibility in carrying out programs designed to help youth make the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency.

Arizona's Children's Action Alliance (CAA) ( worked with State officials and agencies to enact a law in 2000 that, in addition to extending Medicaid coverage, allows the State to assist more of Arizona's former foster youths with housing, counseling, employment, and education. In 2001, an amendment to the law expanded it to offer every youth in foster care at age 18 access to Medicaid up to age 21.

In New Jersey, the Association for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) ( helped secure legislation to extend Medicaid coverage for youths graduating from foster care. Working with the Governor's office, ACNJ was able to get the Medicaid expansion folded into pending legislation, and it was enacted with NJ FamilyCare last year.

Other States that have enacted similar legislation or have similar legislation pending include Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas according to the National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL) (

Related Items

See related story, "Foster Children and Medicaid," in the May/June 2001 issue of the Children's Bureau Express.

Use the Search feature on this website to search the archives of the Children's Bureau Express for articles related to independent living.

Visit the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information for a copy of Title IV-E Independent Living Programs: A Decade in Review (Note: this is no longer available).