During the last Nebraska Legislative session, a bill focused on family finding for youth in foster care also made important changes to the Bridge to Independence (B2I) Act. B2I extends services and support to young adults who were formerly in foster care by providing health care and a monthly stipend for the young adults. B2I is currently helping 116 young adults throughout the state as they transition out of foster care. As a young adult considering applying for B2I, here is what you need to know:
The Bridge to Independence Act is made up of three programs:
- Bridge to Independence Program – Young adults who were in an out-of-home placement at age 19, were discharged to independent living, or exited foster care to a guardianship at age 16 or older may be eligible for the B2I program which provides Medicaid coverage, a monthly stipend, and young adult-directed case management services.
- Extended Guardianship Program – Young adults who entered a guardianship at 16 or older on or after October 1, 2014, and choose not to be in the B2I program, may be eligible for the extended guardianship program which provides Medicaid coverage and continued guardianship payments.
- Extended Adoption Program – Young adults who were adopted at age 16 or older may be eligible for the extended adoption program which provides Medicaid coverage and extended adoption payments.
Frequently Asked Questions: What if…?
I entered a guardianship agreement from foster care at age 16 or older: After the passage of LB 243, young adults can choose to join the B2I program or the extended guardianship program if they meet the other eligibility requirements. If you choose to be in the B2I program, you receive Medicaid coverage, a monthly stipend (of $760), young adult-directed case management services, and you will have at least one court hearing and two case reviews by the Foster Care Review Office per year. If you choose the enter the extended guardianship program you receive Medicaid coverage and continued guardianship payments.
My foster care case was in Tribal court: If you meet the other eligibility criteria, you can now participate.
I am already in B2I: The main change that was made to the B2I program was to ensure your information as a part of your B2I case will be kept confidential and to shorten some timelines to make sure you receive services more quickly.
For eligibility in all of these programs, young adults must be doing at least one the following:
- Completed high school or an equivalent program (GED).
- Enrolled at least part time in college, community college, or a vocational education program.
- Employed at least 80 hours per month (about 20 hours per week).
- Participating in a program or activity to remove barriers to employment (internship, volunteering, etc.).
- Unable to do any of these things because of a medical condition.
Applications for young adults can be found on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Service’s B2I website.
For additional questions or resources call Nebraska Appleseed at 402-438-8853 or check out our B2I website for more info.