Independence. Isn’t it a great word? It means freedom. It means self-sufficiency. It means the ability to chase your own dreams and make your own mistakes.
Independence is something most young people want more than anything. But before you can become independent, there are a lot of things you need to learn about living – and succeeding – on your own.
Let’s face it: everyone can use a helping hand. That’s what the Independent Living Program (ILP) provides. The program was designed to help youth in foster care and young adults formerly in foster care to get the basic life skills, education and job preparation they need to make it on their own. Learn more about ILP and see if you qualify here.
If you’ve left ILP but would like to come back, check out the Guidelines for Resuming Independent Living Services for Youth Ages 18-21.
Another resource available to you is the Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV). ETV provides assistance to eligible foster youth with education- and training-related expenses. The program is geared for you – to help you as you age out of the system and begin to build a successful future.
The national foster care community is a strong one, and there are numerous resources to help practitioners help youth transition from the foster care system into living independently. Here are several of the most useful.
Casey Family Programs is the nation’s largest operating foundation entirely focused on foster care. The organization’s “It’s My Life” series offers a wealth of resources for practitioners.
The Casey Agency Self-Assessment (ASA) is a strengths-based and comprehensive reporting tool for public and private child welfare agencies, community-based organizations, program administrators, juvenile justice systems and others concerned with positive youth development.