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Independent Living Funds

Independent Living Funds are available through the Office of Children's Services for youth who need services to prepare for the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency.

Independent Living Funds are available to youth in state foster care and to youth no longer in custody who reach or have reached the age of 16 or older while in state foster care and have not yet reached the age of 21 .

Independent Living Funds can be used to help youth gain the skills, experience, and materials they will need to become self-sufficient adults.

Who is Eligible?

Are There Any Special Conditions?

What Can the Funds Be Used For?

How Do I Request Funds?

Anything Else I Should Know?

Be Creative

Who is eligible?

For Youth In Foster Care: Any youth in out of home care age 16 or over is eligible. It does not matter whether they are in residential care, in a foster home, or in an unlicensed relative placement.

For Youth No-Longer In Custody: Any youth who has reached the age of 16 or older while in state foster care and has not yet reached the age of 21 is eligible. This includes youth who have been adopted, entered into guardianship, or have returned home after turning 16.

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Are there special conditions?

There are two conditions for funding for youth in OCS custody:
  • The request must be consistent with the child's case plan
  • Youth in custody must have completed the Casey Life Skills Assessment (CLSA) and the results must be in the case file
For youth no longer in custody, the goal of providing funds is to promote responsibility while ensuring they have access to the goods and services they need to achieve self-sufficiency. The funds are to be used for goods or services, which directly support the youth in achieving self-sufficiency. Funds must be provided to a vendor or provider other than the youth.

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What can the funds be used for?

Daily Living Training

  • elementary cooking and cleaning skills
  • time management
Money Management Training
  • training in budgeting and financial management skills
  • assistance in developing and managing a budget
Self Care Training
  • personal hygiene skills
  • substance abuse prevention
  • preventative health activities (including smoking avoidance, nutritional education, and pregnancy prevention)
Social Development Training
  • mentors and interactions with adults
  • cultural development
  • travel for social development opportunities

Work and Study Training

  • tutoring and educational training
  • preparation for post secondary training and education
  • assistance in obtaining a high school diploma or GED (including assistance for taking the Qualifying Exit Exams)
  • vocational training
  • job placement
  • job retention
  • employment services
  • travel for work and study opportunities
Post secondary education
  • vocational and trade schools
  • apprenticeships
  • associate degrees
  • college courses
  • travel for post secondary education opportunities
  • Supplies (household furnishings, cooking, cleaning)
  • Textbooks
  • Day-planners

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How do I request the funds?
Contact the Regional Independent Living Specialist in your area.

Anything else I should know?
Funding for this program is limited. Many independent living services are offered at free or reduced rates for special populations through other government programs and through private and non-profit agencies. You will need to demonstrate that efforts have been made to secure funding from other resources.

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Be creative!
Ten things you can do to help a youth transition from foster care to independence:
  • Help a youth get things that they will need when they leave home, like pots, pans, a bed, an alarm clock, etc
  • Provide travel for a foster youth to attend a cultural ceremony in their home village
  • Enroll the youth in a Job Training Program. (Contact the Independent Living Program Coordinator for more information)
  • Help a foster child enroll in a vocational training program
  • Pay for classes to help a foster child quit smoking
  • Pay for travel expenses for a foster child to attend job training
  • Provide travel to colleges the youth is considering attending
  • Enroll the foster child in a money management class
  • Pay for a tutor
  • Pay for Native Alaskan carving classes

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Contact the Independent Living Coordinator: (907) 465-8659