SECTION 1. Chapter 119 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition is hereby amended by adding after section 89 the following section:-
Section 90. (a) As used in this section the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meaning:
“emerging adult”, a person who is in the custody and care of the department of children and families, the department of mental health, or the department of youth services who is between the ages of 14 and their 22nd birthday.
“agency and office staff”, individuals who work with emerging adults in the departments that provide transition plans.
“departments”, the department of children and families, the department of mental health and the department of youth services.
(b) Notwithstanding any other general or special law to the contrary, any agency or office of the Commonwealth providing residential services or that has custody of a minor, including the department of children and families, the department of mental health, and the department of youth services, or an entity funded by the Commonwealth to provide the same, shall not discharge any minor in their care or custody or an emerging adult in their care or custody who was a minor at the time of their initial placement without a transition plan.
(c) A transition plan shall comprehensively address discharge procedures in regard to the following, including but not limited to: housing, continuity of care, health insurance, employment, benefits, obtaining identification documents and community resources.
The agency or office shall take all means necessary to ensure placement into appropriate housing upon discharge, and begin the process of transition planning no later than 14 years of age, as they become an emerging adult. Appropriate housing shall include but not be limited to single room occupancies (SROS), transitional housing, rest homes or nursing homes, as well as housing obtained through housing and rental voucher programs and the Family Unification program. Emergency shelters or a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings shall not constitute appropriate housing.
Transition planning shall take place in conjunction with the housing consumer education center in the region as defined by chapter 41 of the acts of 2019. Housing consumer education centers shall train agency and office staff to address the needs of emerging adults transitioning from state care and/or custody. The departments shall not finalize the discharge procedure for any minor or young person without confirming that the transition plan was reviewed by all entities mandated in regulations.
(d) The departments shall promulgate reasonable rules to implement this section including, but not limited to: providing training to agency and office staff on how to best support transition-age youth, and emerging adults in their care; the process of assigning housing consumer education center staff to work directly with any agency or office of the Commonwealth providing residential or custodial services to minors or emerging adults, entities funded by the Commonwealth to provide the same, and nonprofit organizations with a mission dedicated to serving system-involved youth and emerging adults.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect on January 1, 2021.
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.