The Nevada Independent Living Program is designed to assist and prepare foster and former foster youth in making the transition from foster care to adulthood by providing opportunities to obtain life skills for self-sufficiency and independence. Some young people who leave the foster care system may need continuing services to help them on their way to adulthood. The Independent Living Program does this by offering many learning and training opportunities along with financial assistance.
The Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) considers all eligible foster youth to include those youth who are in the care and custody of DCFS, Washoe County Human Services Agency, Clark County Department of Family Services and Tribal foster youth. DCFS considers foster care as the legal status of the child, not the physical placement of the child, to determine eligibility for independent living services.
Who is eligible?
The Independent Living Program services are available to youth 14 and older who are currently in foster care and to former foster care youth who aged-out of the foster care system at age 18. Independent Living services are also available to youth who were adopted from foster care on or after their 16th birthday. Young people who aged-out may continue receiving services until age 21. Nevada will extend independent living services to youth who have aged out of care in another state.
What are the Independent Living Services?
Some of the services provided through the Independent Living Program include:
- Daily living skills
- Money management
- Decision making
- Housing assistance
- Substance abuse prevention, nutrition education, smoking prevention, and pregnancy prevention
- Preparation for postsecondary training and education
- Mentors and permanent connections
- Financial assistance with college or vocational schools
- Medical insurance
- Assistance in obtaining the GED and higher education
What are the funding sources for the Independent Living Program?
The three major sources of funding to assist foster and former foster youth in Nevada come from the federal and state government. The federal funding comes from the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 which established the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. Federal funding also supports the Education and Training Vouchers. The State of Nevada also provides financial assistance to former foster youth through the Financial Assistance to Former Foster Youth Program (FAFFY). Each of these programs provides a variety of services and may have special requirements.