Speak Up! - View Question #143
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Question: Can foster children petition for emancipated minor status?
Answer: Arizona has no emancipation law. That means a minor in this state, including foster kids, must have a legal guardian until he or she reaches the age of 18. In the few cases where emancipation has been found to exist, it has been usually a determination by a court based on circumstances that existed at the time the person was a minor. For example, if a minor buys a car, signs a contract, and later tries to get out of the contract on the basis of being a minor, a court can find that the minor was emancipated for purposes of the contract. That finding would make the contract enforceable by the seller.
However, a foster child does have an option other than sitting in foster care until the age of 18. Child Protective Services (CPS), the legal guardian of foster kids, has a program called ILS, Independent Living Services. It provides training in how to manage daily living skills and personal finances for those foster kids who are eligible for the program. Once the minor completes the training part, he or she becomes eligible to get a monthly payment to cover rent and basic living expenses so the minor can learn, while still under the care of CPS, to manage his or her own life. Talk to your caseworker about your eligibility for this program.