independent living

Foster care is supervised care for delinquent or neglected children usually in an institution or substitute home. When a youth turns eighteen, he/she “ages out” of foster care. Once that happens, the youth now transitions from foster care to an Independent Living Program. The Independent Living Program is vitally important for the youth because it provides them with the necessary skills to live and survive on their own, gives them the financial help needed, and continues to provide assistance until the youth reaches the age of 21.

Many experts believe that foster care should help benefit youth after they turn eighteen. Author Christine Vestal explains that most youth that are in foster care start their life on their own when they turn eighteen (Vestal 1). Before the youth turns eighteen, a series of trainings have to be completed. These trainings help you with money and household management skills, educational assistance, and finding employment (Independent Living 1). Trainings like these are given to every youth in foster care from age 13-17 years old (Florida Department of Children and Families 1).

The youth learns how to cook and clean correctly in these programs. They also learn how to save money and manage a bank account. Some of the trainings are hands on. In the long run, these trainings will effectively prepare youth to transition from foster care to life on their own. Being in the Independent Living Program, the youth is given financial help. Once the youth reaches the age of eighteen, the youth will receive this financial help. However, not every foster care child will receive this money.

Only those who have completed the trainings, have not moved from placement to placement, and completed high school are eligible for financial help (Thorn 2). Those who fail to reach these achievements are not given financial help. A worker for the Independent Living Program, Kimberly Tait, said when interviewed that “Those accepted for the program will receive $1,250 a month to cover bills (including rent) and other necessities for the month. ” For, youth living on their own in a two bedroom apartment this would be more than enough money to survive and pay the bills with.

Congress passed the Foster Care Independence Act in 1999. This law increased funding to the states in order to assist youths to make the transition from foster care to independent living (“Foster Care Independence Act” 1). One-hundred and forty million dollars is given to the Independent Living Program a year and each state must contribute an additional 20 percent in funds (1). This Act greatly improves the lives of the children in care and helps more and more children have a good life.

The youth has to find an apartment or living space that fits their budget. When they find an affordable apartment or living space the youth has to give all the information (including address, name of owner of house renting from, and so forth) to their case worker for approval. Once the apartment is approved, the youth can move in. Every month the youth will receive money to pay their rent, electric, ect as stated earlier. The youth will continue receiving financial help to pay for their rent until they reach the age of 21 (Ellertson 2).

They will also receive health care benefits until the age of 21 (Ellertson 3). This is very beneficial to the youth because it means that they get free health care and housing until they are 21 years old. The Independent Living Program is beneficial to the well being of the youth that enter the program. This program improves the lives of foster children tremendously. Not only does the program provide the youth with the necessary skills to live and survive on their own but it also gives them a reasonable head start on a promising life.

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