The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance to local social services districts on the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2009-2010 Education and Training Voucher (ETV)program. This program will help youth aging out of foster care make the transition to self-sufficiency and receive the education, training and services necessary to obtain employment. For FFY 2009-2010, $2,711,038 in federal funding is available for this program in New York State. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) expects to use a portion of the ETV funds for eligible youth placed in OCFS custody. OCFS will provide the required match for youth in OCFS custody who are eligible for the ETV program. The ETV funds must be fully liquidated (spent and claimed to the federal government) by September 30, 2010. This LCM also describes the application process and selection criteria for awarding FFY 2009-2010 ETV program funds and the funding requirements. It should be noted that for FFY 2009-2010, social services districts are requested to submit names of eligible youth and intercept letters by July 1, 2009 (refer to Section V. - Application and Selection of Program Participants). OCFS is beginning the ETV process during the summer in the hope that funds will be available for disbursement to eligible youth earlier in the academic school year. Recognizing the importance of education in helping youth successfully transition to selfsufficiency, many local social services districts have demonstrated their commitment to assisting youth within their jurisdiction to pursue post-secondary educational and vocational training opportunities through participation in the ETV program. An eligible youth participating in the ETV program when he or she attains 21 years of age may continue to receive an ETV voucher until the youth attains 23 years of age, provided the youth continues to be enrolled in and attending a post-secondary educational or vocational training program and is making satisfactory progress toward completion of that program.
Most of the youth enrolled in the ETV program are attending a college or university. Local districts are reminded that youth attending vocational training programs also may be eligible for the ETV program. Encouraging youth to receive their high school diploma and continue on with college or attend a vocational training program which will prepare them for employment is a tried and true practice for youth to achieve success. OCFS will continue to contract with the Orphan Foundation of America (OFA) to administer and serve as New York State’s fiscal agent for the ETV program for FFY 2009-2010. OFA has administered the ETV program for New York State for the past five years. OFA has more than 15 years of experience administering college and vocational scholarships for foster youth. It has information on, and access to, other scholarship programs for foster youth. OFA has been working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children, Youth and Families on the ETV program. OFA administers the ETV program for several other states and has automated systems to support administration of the program. Among other things, OFA has automated the application forms and record retention for audit purposes. OFA has a national network of hundreds of volunteers who provide adjunct services such as mentoring, tutoring, and internships to scholarship recipients.