Youth services (also known as the Independent Living Program) assists youth in foster care ages 14-21 in developing the skills necessary to make the transition from foster care to independent living. Independent Living services include activities that are based on a written assessment of life skills. Areas of focus include personal development skills such as self-esteem, communication skills, decision-making, conflict resolution and anger management. Examples of independent living skills are career exploration, job skills, money management, housing, transportation, and legal issues.
Eligibility, Services, Guidance & Procedures
Who Is Eligible?
Youth in foster care are eligible to receive services through ILP at the age of 14 and may continue receiving services until age 21 if they are in the custody or placement responsibility of a local department of social services. Qualifying placements include those in foster homes, residential treatment centers and group homes.
Independent Living services should not be limited to youth in foster care that participate in Fostering Futures. As appropriate, some type of independent living information or service should be provided to each youth who can benefit from such information or services. Services may even be extended to youth after they have been discharged from foster care, if they meet the age criteria. Age 21 is the cut-off for services.
What are the Services?
Services provided through ILP include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Educational: Assistance in completing high school, general education degree and higher education, including assistance for tuition, admission fees, supplies, equipment, tutoring, etc.
- Vocational Training: Job training/readiness, job search and placement and other related services to prepare youth to become self-supporting, or that increases performance/functional competency.
- Daily Living Skills/Aide: Assistance and training on budgeting, housing, money management, career planning, procurement and/or provision of any services or items which facilitate establishing youth in an independent living arrangement; e.g., household goods, supplies, services, insurance, utility turn-on, etc. Daily living skills may be provided by local social services staff, others involved in the youth's care or through negotiation or contract with a resource person or entity.
- Counseling: Individual and group.
- Other Services and Assistance: Training, meetings, conferences, retreats, workshops, relating to building competencies that strengthen individual skills and foster successful independent living.
- Integration/Coordination of Services: Collaborative efforts with other agencies.
- Outreach Services: To reach and engage eligible youth in linking to available IL services.
Guidance & Procedures
Refer to sections 13 and 14 of Foster Care Guidance for more information regarding services for older youth.
Community College Tuition Grant
This program will provide tuition and fees at any Virginia community college specifically for high school graduates or those who have received their GED if, at the time of graduation or completion of the GED, they were in foster care, in the custody of a social services agency or in a special needs adoption. This grant is based on financial need.
For more information, click here.
Education and Training Voucher (ETV)
The Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program assists eligible foster care and adopted youth with post-secondary education and training expenses. It is designed to help youth transitioning out of foster care with the education, training and services needed for employment.
Program funds can be applied toward, but not limited to, colleges, universities, community colleges and one-year training institutions.
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Module 1: What is a Transition Plan and why should I do one?
Module 2: Who is involved in Transition Planning?
Module 3: How do I develop a Transition Plan?
Module 4: What do I need to know to effectively plan for myself?
Module 5: What happens after my transition plan is completed?