What is Independent Living?

The Independent Living (IL) program empowers older teens in foster care to grow and develop through specialized programs that build on each person’s strengths. The program is designed to help them learn to live independently as adults.

While involved with the IL program, youths receive the following services:

  • Housing placement and supervision
  • Life skills assessment of strengths and needs
  • Individualized life skills training
  • Practical hands-on experience
  • Educational or vocational referrals and support
  • Employment referrals and support
  • Adult and/or peer mentors

Who is eligible for Independent Living?

Youths who are temporary or permanent court wards are eligible for Independent Living as preparation for emancipation from the foster care system. A youth must meet the following criteria for consideration in the IL program:

  • Youth must be between the ages of 16 and 19 years.
  • Youth must be a temporary or permanent court ward.
  • IL must be the most appropriate program for the youth.
  • Youth must be willing to commit to an individual contract with Samaritas that specifies the living arrangement, school or vocational plan, budget, and a schedule for meetings with the IL worker.
  • Youth must exhibit maturity in self-care and personal judgement.
  • Youth must have or agree to a suitable living arrangement.

Referrals to IL

Youths are referred by their Department of Human Services, court or private agency worker. The referring worker completes a referral form. The referring worker also provides initial and recently updated service plans, medical information, birth certificate, Social Security card, Medicaid card, and educational records. Brief written assessments are provided by the youth, referring worker and caregiver.