A redesigned Independent Living initiative will improve outcomes for youth in foster care and young adults who have aged out of the foster care system. Recently, the Department of Children and Families Secretary appointed 18 new members to the state’s Independent Living Services Advisory Council.
“We recently surveyed these youth and young adults to better understand their lives, determine where the gaps in services are and ask their advice on how to improve the program,” the Secretary said. “Our youth in foster care and those who have aged out deserve to have a chance to grow up healthy, get a job and be successful adults, just like our own children.”
In addition to these improvements, the Department also plans to ask for Legislative changes to require mentors for these youth, increase their employment prospects and provide more accountability for the program’s spending.
Since 2007, expenditures for the Independent Living program grew by more than 70 percent. However, positive outcomes did not increase that dramatically. Currently, about 6,000 youth and young adults are receiving Independent Living services. Recent survey results published show many successes for children in foster care and those who have aged out, but there are many challenges as well.