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New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual

 

Manual:

CP&P

Child Protections & Permanency

Effective Date

1-18-2017

Volume:

VI

Adolescent Services

Chapter:

B

Self Sufficiency

Revised Date

6-9-2021

Subchapter:

1

Transitional Planning

Issuance:

400

Annual Credit Report for Children and Young Adults in Out of Home Placement

 

Purpose:

This issuance establishes policies and procedures for the provision of credit reports to youth ages 14 to 21 in out-of-home placement, as required by federal law. Policies and procedures are also included when fraud suspected for a child.

 

Authority:

·         The Child and Family Services Improvement Act (Public Law 112-34)

·         The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980).         

·         N.J.S.A. 9:2-13B Definitions

 

Policy:

 

A)   Federal Requirements

In accordance with federal requirements, it is DCF policy to:

1.    Provide credit reports to youth ages 14 through 17 in out-of-home placement.

2.    Assist youth ages 18 to 21 in out-of-home placement to obtain his or her credit reports; and

3.    Assist youth ages 14 to 21 in out-of-home placement with interpreting the credit report and resolving any inaccuracies.

Note: This policy only pertains to youth with documented legal status. Credit         checks cannot be completed for undocumented youth.

B)   Policy for Requesting Credit Reports for Adolescents Ages 14 through 17

1.    The Worker shall request credit reports for adolescents 14 through 17 in out-of-home placement, following the steps in the Credit Reporting Guide for Youth

14 to 21.

2.    The Worker is responsible for the following:

1.  Request the adolescent’s credit report from the two credit reporting agencies (CRAs) annually;

2.  Obtain the credit report if it exists and review, dispute, and resolve the inaccuracies or fraud;

3.  Document efforts in a contact activity note; and

4.  Document the date(s) reports were requested and the date(s) the reports were received in New Jersey Spirit.

Note: Do not save the adolescent’s credit report onto any DCF computer or electronic device. CP&P shall have a court order or other documentation of legal custody to make the request.

C)  When Fraud is Suspected for Any Child

If fraud is suspected for any child, regardless of age, the Worker shall consult the DAG and request credit reports from the two CRAs. Any evidence of fraud revealed by the reports shall be shared with the Deputy Attorney General, the child’s Law Guardian, and the DCF Office of Legal Affairs.

D)  Policy for Assisting Young Adults Ages 18 to 21 in Requesting their Credit Reports

1.    Young adults in an out-of-home placement can request his or her own credit reports. The Worker may provide guidance, if requested, but shall not request a credit report for the young adult. For more information, see Credit Reporting Guide for Youth 14 to 21.

2.    The Worker is responsible for the following:

1.    Assist the young adult in requesting his or her credit report(s) annually from all three Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA). For young adults whose CP&P case is opened after the age of 18, the Worker assists the young adult in requesting his or her credit report(s) within 60 days of the case opening, provided reports have not been requested within the previous 12 months;

2.    Assist the young adult to interpret the report;

3.    Assist the young adult in disputing and resolving any inaccuracies or fraud;

4.    Complete CP&P Form 16-110, Credit Reporting Form for Youth Age 18 to 21 with the young adult;

5.    Ensure the young adult keeps a copy of his or her credit reports; retain hard copies of the credit reports in the case record;

6.    Document efforts in a contact activity note; and

7.    Document the date reports were requested and the date the reports were received in New Jersey Spirit.

Note: Do not save the young adult’s credit report onto any DCF computer or                     electronic device.

 

Key Terms (Definitions):

 

·         Adolescent – A person who is age 14 through 17 years old in the legal custody of CP&P.

·         Child- Any person under the age of 18.

·         Credit Report – Is information compiled by a consumer reporting agency that includes the person’s name, social security number, where the person lives, how bills are paid and whether the person has been sued or arrested, or if they have filed for bankruptcy. It lists any credit card accounts or loans, the balances and how regularly payments are made. This information is used as a factor in establishing credit.

·         Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) - Refers to one of the three agencies required by law to provide a free annual credit report: Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion.

·         Out-of-Home Placement – Refers to all out-of-home placement settings for adolescents, including, but not limited to, resource family homes, group homes, treatment settings, independent living placements/arrangements, and other adolescent housing programs.

·         Young Adult – A person who is 18 to 21 years old (up to the person’s 21st birthday) who has agreed to accept services and has an open CP&P case.

·         Youth - For the purposes of the Credit Reporting policy, “youth” is a person age 14 up to 21.

 

Forms and Attachments:

·         CP&P Form 16-110, Credit Reports Form for Adolescents Age 18 to 21

·         Credit Reporting Guide for Adolescents 14 to 21

 

Related Information:

·            https://www.annualcreditreport.com The only official web site established by the three CRAs to provide free credit reports.

 

Policy History

·            6/9/2021

·            1/18/2017