Mandatory for teens nearing emancipation from foster care, this 10-week program prepares foster children for young adulthood. Weekly sessions include career and employment preparation, strategies for academic success, budgeting and financial coaching, housing education/home management, health education/risk prevention, and building healthy relationships. For more details, see our Independent Living video (hot link).
Our After-Care Coordinator visits emancipated youth on a regular basis for up to six months to ensure that they are taking positive steps toward getting on their feet.
Emancipated youth are eligible for Medicaid health coverage up until their 26th birthday, and our staff will ensure that the paperwork is filled out and submitted correctly.
Foster youths will often struggle with anxiety, depression and other behavioral health concerns. Our case workers are linked to therapists and physicians who can provide the needed help.
In 2013, we started our Education Unit to ensure that issues are addressed and students in care are getting the skills they need to succeed. Caseworkers attend disciplinary hearings and teacher conferences. They focus on grades seven and eight along with third grade, as these were identified as pivotal points in children's education.
When they near the end of their high school journey, we assist our foster youth in getting any grants they are entitled to. Caseworks will help the children fill out FASFA and Educational Training Voucher paperwork. Chafee Foundation Grants for Education will finance a laptop for a foster child once they have documented acceptance into a college or vocational school.
Offered through Montgomery County Workforce Development, ourConnecting the Dots program teaches soft skills to help area youth attain and keep employment. Beyond that, the program helps them take positive steps toward their desired career track. These efforts advance Montgomery County's strategic plan initiative to prepare the next generation of workers.
Connecting the Dots also arranges mentors for young people through Big Brothers & Big Sisters, and it obtains donated professional clothing for our youth through Clothes That Work. The program facilitates college campus tours, while also offering our youth chance to apply for Montgomery County’s Summer YouthWorks program.
In 2014, YouthWorks connected 2,000 underprivileged youth with employment for eight weeks over the summer. The program actually paid their wages through Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funding. Nearly 500 local businesses, non-profit organizations and even Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employed our youth for 20 hours a week. A whopping 83 percent of employers surveyed indicated they would recommend their youth for employment after the end of the program.
Youth Advisory Board
Emancipated youth and children in foster care work together to improve life in care and foster care systems. The group plans events, coordinates sibling visits, and learns leadership skills while speaking to legislators about possible foster care improvements.
Personal Responsibility Education Program
A precursor to Independent Living, this program is offered to 14-to-16 year olds. Developed by the Ohio Department of Health, the program emphasizes prevention of teen pregnancy and avoidance of sexually transmitted diseases.